Take the Pledge for Bears

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A nonprofit fundraiser supporting

Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)
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Help us end the suffering of bears used in circus-like shows, roadside zoos and cub petting!


raised by 70 people

$10,000 goal

7 months left


Captive bears are overlooked animals – and they suffer more than you know. YOU can make a difference! 

There is nothing humane about seeing a bear performing in a show, pacing in a shabby roadside zoo, or used for cub petting and photo ops. 

These attractions require cruel training and a lifetime of misery for these highly intelligent and active animals. 

That’s why PAWS wants your pledge to:

  1. Never pet or take a selfie with a bear of any age.
  2. Never attend a performing bear show.
  3. Never visit a roadside zoo or bear pit.

You can SIGN OUR PETITION by clicking here.


Much attention is given to the exploitation of captive big cats and elephants used for entertainment, even though captive bears are also harmed. In the U.S., about 1,000 bears are caged and exploited for entertainment and display in roadside zoos. 


Bears are really smart animals. They are also large, powerful, and wide-ranging, with home ranges of 50 square miles or more. Bears are constantly on the move, active for about 18 hours a day. (See FAQs for more bear facts!)

Roadside Zoos and "Bear Pits" – Roadside zoos confine bears in small, filthy enclosures, with inadequate diets, shelter, and care. Bears may become obese, suffer foot and joint problems due concrete flooring, and display abnormal repetitive pacing and head rolling.  

Bear pits (left) are deep concrete enclosures. All the bears can see are high concrete walls and people hovering above them, a continuous source of stress. With nothing else to do, bears unnaturally beg for food and repetitively pace.

Pet Trade – “Pet” bears are often confined in tiny backyard cages where they spend their lives in misery, deprived of all that is natural to them. Captive-born bears retain their wild instincts and are capable of inflicting serious injury and death. 

Film, Advertising, Television – Bears continue to appear in films, television shows, ads, and media stunts. Handlers often use cruel training methods to ensure a bear performs consistently and on cue. Media images can send the wrong message about bears or suggest they are suitable as pets. 

Bear Cub Petting – Exhibitors charge people to hold or pose for photos with a bear cub (above). Baby bears are cruelly separated from their mothers shortly after birth. They soon are exposed to stressful handling by the public, potential injury, and abuse by facility staff. Once a cub grows too old for handling, they may be sold to private owners, other zoos, or used to produce more cubs. Unwanted bears are sometimes slaughtered for the exotic meat market. 

Bear Shows – Bear shows (left) are like circuses. Muzzled and leashed, bears are forced to balance on balls, ride scooters, and walk on their front legs. Bears are hauled from show to show in filthy, cramped trucks, and they are subjected to inhumane training. Bear shows may be found at county fairs or roadside attractions. 

Pseudo-Sanctuaries – Don’t be fooled by fake “sanctuaries” that offer cub petting or always have baby animals on display. True sanctuaries do not buy, sell, breed, trade, make their animals perform, or allow direct contact with wild animals of any age. 

Be part of the solution, not the problem!

BEAR FAQS: Click here to learn more.

Since 1984 PAWS has been working to end the suffering of captive wild animals in roadside zoos, the exotic “pet” trade, circuses, and other entertainment – while providing safe refuge for bears, elephants, big cats, and other wild animals at our 2,300-acre ARK 2000 natural habitat sanctuary in Northern California. For more information, www.pawsweb.org

Subscribe to PAWS' monthly newsletter here.

Please make a donation to PAWS today and help end the suffering of bears used for entertainment.

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