Save Bears Forced to Live in Concrete Pit

Brown bear in the bear pit at Bern, Switzerland, expecting food from tourists.

Target: Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Goal: Save three exploited bears from concrete pit tourist attraction and send them to an accredited sanctuary.

A group of bears currently live in a pit made of concrete at roadside zoo next to the Three Bears General Store (Three Bears) in Tennessee. There are also two logs and a small pool from which they must both drink and bathe. The bears have endured this cruel and inhumane treatment for decades.

The bears are fed dog food three times a day to keep the weight off. Visitors purchase cups of fruit that they can throw down into the pit. The food thrown down often lands in puddles or piles of feces. Tourists can be found yelling “hey bear” to get them to stand up and beg for treats. Less aggressive bears go hungry while the more aggressive ones overeat. These animals are on display all day during business hours.

Bears spend their lives in the wild exploring, foraging, and digging in the soft earth. These bears are cruelly denied any of their natural behaviors. Confining them to live in an unnatural habitat and exploiting them for tourist dollars is callous and sadistic. The bears are bored and frustrated, turning in endless circles and rocking back and forth. These are signs of stress and deprivation. They are denied adequate veterinary care and have broken their teeth on the metal bars imprisoning them in this pit.

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) “requires that minimum standards of care and treatment be provided for certain animals bred for commercial sale, used in research, transported commercially, or exhibited to the public.” The exhibition and exploitation of these bears clearly fall under the purview of the AWA. Their neglect, inhumane treatment, and filthy habitat must lead the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to remove these bears and re-home them in an accredited sanctuary.

By signing this petition, you will urge Secretary Vilsack of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to comply with the nature and intent of the AWA. These bears deserve respect and dignity and they do not receive it in this roadside zoo attraction.


Dear Secretary Vilsack,

A roadside zoo in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. exploits and degrades five Asiatic black bears in a commercial exhibition of greed and animal neglect. The Three Bears General Store imprisons these bears for visitors to throw food at into their unhygienic pit, forcing them to beg for it.

The bears do not receive the minimum standard of care as defined by the Animal Welfare Act. They need to be removed from the facility and re-homed to an accredited sanctuary where they can live out their lives in a natural habitat. Their lives of exploitation, cruelty, and degradation need to end.

We, the undersigned, urge you to enforce the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) and show these bears the kindness, dignity, and respect they deserve. The AWA exists for the protection of animals. Please enforce the protection and save the bears from a life of torment.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Weim

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One Comment

  1. Natasha polychuk says:

    these redneck hicks should be un a goddamn pit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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