Bear park visitors unaware of cruelty

Jan 30, 2006

A recent poll of visitors to Japan's bear parks stated that they were unaware of how the bears suffered, and that they would not have visited if they had been aware.

"This poll shows that most people don't want to support cruelty to animals, especially when it's just for the sake of entertainment," commented Susan Sherwin, WSPA's campaigns manager in the US. "The problem is that people know so little about the natural life of bears, that they don't understand how unnatural life is for the animals in these bear parks."



Conditions in the parks

Japan currently has eight bear parks that house approximately 800 bears in total. The sole purpose of the parks is to offer entertainment to tourists. The bears are normally kept in concrete pits, which are approximately the size of a basketball court.

As tourists watch, the bears pace the concrete pit, driven mad by their captivity. Naturally solitary creatures, the overcrowding leads to stress and fights, and lack of proper nutrition and veterinary care means they are plagued by constant ill health.

WSPA is working to educate the public and change how they percieve bear parks, with the ultimate goal of closing the parks.

Success so far

A bear catching fish in a bear sanctuary
Last year WSPA was involved in making a cinema advert in Japan which exposed the true horror of the parks. We also succeeded in securing the agreement of the Japan National Tourist Association to stop promoting them. Already, Noboribetsu park has stopped the breeding of bears and four other parks are considering changing the concrete pit enclosures for forest enclosures.

Please help today

With your generosity we can continue to educate the Japanese public and pressure the government to increase the legislation that currently exists to protect animals. Please donate today and help us end the suffering of these bears and other animals around the world.

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Find out more about Japan's Bear Parks

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