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PNS Daily Newscast - November 16, 2018 


Winter Storm Avery takes lives, puts the brakes on commutes across the Northeast. Also on our Friday rundown: A first-of-its-kind report calls for policies to ease transitions of young people living in foster care. And "got gratitude" this holiday season? It could benefit your health.

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USDA Seeks Public Comments about Bears in Captivity

PHOTO: A bear at a North Carolina roadside zoo in a barren cage. The group PETA is asking the USDA to enforce humane standards for bears in captivity. Photo courtesy PETA.
PHOTO: A bear at a North Carolina roadside zoo in a barren cage. The group PETA is asking the USDA to enforce humane standards for bears in captivity. Photo courtesy PETA.
December 16, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. - Hundreds of bears in captivity in Florida and around the country are held in small concrete pits and cages without anything that is natural to them, and since they can't speak for themselves, one of the world's largest animal-welfare groups wants humans to speak up for them.

According to Delcianna Winders, Director of Captive Law for the PETA Foundation, the USDA is taking public comment on stronger rules for humane treatment of bears, prompted by a lawsuit from her organization. Under the Animal Welfare Act, she said, bears used for exhibition are supposed to be treated humanely.

"But the regulations that are applied are exceedingly general, and the USDA has failed to protect bears under these standards," she charged.

Winders said scientific research has surfaced over the years showing what bears need, and that bears are intelligent and as complex as primates, and can suffer from stress and physiological dysfunction in captivity.

"So, thirty years ago, there may have been an excuse for keeping a bear in a concrete pit, arguably. At this point, there's absolutely no excuse," she declared.

She said PETA has been working for more than a year to get the federal government's attention about this issue, and is counting on the public to weigh in.

PETA'S lawsuit asks for more space, proper nutrition, and places for bears to forage, climb and bathe, among other things.

Winders said roadside zoos are the biggest culprits when it comes to violations in Florida.

The USDA is accepting public comments until January 27, at regulations.gov.

Public comments: tinyurl.com/mklfc2o.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - FL