Florida Newspaper Group Is Promoting Law-Breaking Roadside Zoo


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Florida’s Bearadise Ranch is a roadside zoo that hauls bears across the country inside cramped cages and forces them to perform confusing and uncomfortable stunts, such as climbing ladders, carrying balls while walking upright, and pulling hoops over their heads.

Florida authorities issued a written warning and a misdemeanor citation to owner Monica Welde for violations of the state’s captive-wildlife laws after she forced a bear to perform as a “ring bearer” during a wedding ceremony and allowed a news crew into her enclosure—a stunt that also prompted an official warning from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The agency also cited Welde for failing to protect the audience during a public fair after a bear was startled by a loud sound effect and bolted across the loosely netted arena—risking her escape.

Yet a group of local newspapers collectively referred to as Your Observer has never covered these violations, the public’s opposition to bears’ confinement to cramped cages and coercion into performing, or the concern over their welfare, opting instead to routinely publish glowing puff pieces about Bearadise Ranch—even though PETA has provided ample evidence of this roadside zoo’s sordid history and reckless activities.

Using bears in tawdry sideshows is cruel, and keeping them on leashes and exposing them to the startling noises of county fairs and other unnatural aspects of public appearances cause them stress and confusion. Even captive-born bears typically shun contact with humans.

While Your Observer claims to strive for “editorial excellence,” the editors have ignored all calls to provide a balanced and accurate presentation of Bearadise Ranch. This is misleading to readers and the antithesis of editorial integrity.

Please ask the managing editor of Your Observer to stop running brazenly one-sided articles about Bearadise Ranch.


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