Monday, March 27, 2006

Bear Wrestling: Humans Newest Ridiculous Way to Abuse Animals: Tortured Bear Acts out of Fear

The one thing the article leaves out is why the bear doesn’t just kill these guys. Well, because he’s been beaten into submission and knows that if he does something wrong he’ll be tortured and beaten to death. The same tactic used to make elephants, lions, tigers, etc. do stupid tricks in circuses.

Animal Rights Groups Decry Bear Wrestling

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060322/ap_on_re_us/bear_battles_1

By M.R. KROPKO, Associated Press WriterTue Mar 21, 7:36 PM ET

Lance Palmer, a 140-pound high school wrestler and four-time state champ, taps into his substantial skills whenever he takes on Ceaser Jr. Skill comes in handy when your opponent is a 650-pound black bear.

Palmer recently wrestled Ceaser at the annual Cleveland Sport, Travel & Outdoor Show, pinning the animal on its back.

Although he says he never hurts the bear, Palmer and the bear's owner have been criticized by animal rights groups.

Norfolk, Va.-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has sought to make owner Sam Mazzola a focal point of its national efforts to ban bear wrestling.

PETA is demanding that the U.S Department of Agriculture revoke Mazzola's license to exhibit exotic animals. For a small fee, Mazzola allows people to wrestle the bear or have a picture taken inside a cage with his other bears or a tiger.

"Sam Mazzola continues to flout federal regulations and expose the public to very real danger," said Debbie Leahy, PETA director. "Bear wrestling is as ludicrous as it sounds, and it's high time that it was relegated to the dustbin of history."

PETA said bear wrestling is banned in 20 states, but not in Ohio.

Mazzola said bear wrestling has been part of his business — World Animal Studios Inc. — for over 20 years and he has no intention of stopping now. Most of his shows are at county fairs in Ohio.

"To be able to bring an animal out into the public and do what we do is not easy. I mean we're talking about a bear! Do you even realize how much work, time and love we put into that? It's like nobody stops to realize that," Mazzola said.

Randy Coleman, a USDA inspector, attended Saturday's wrestling match but declined comment.

Palmer, 19, a senior at St. Edward High School in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood, has been wrestling bears since he was four years old. His father is an animal trainer for Mazzola.

Palmer, who gets paid by Mazzola, said animal rights activists are, in his view, misguided.

"Bears are probably eight times stronger than people," said Palmer, who is headed to Ohio State as a collegiate wrestler. "If they wanted to, they could do a whole lot of damage to people. But if they are having fun, like Ceaser was, then they will play with you all day.

"To them it's just fun, because they are not using all of their strength," he said. "Maybe I might use all of my strength to pin him, but he's just playing around."

Palmer said he's had a few scratches and bruises wrestling bears, but no serious injuries. He views it as another training method, even if there's potential for danger.

Ceaser doesn't wear a muzzle during the wrestling matches with Palmer.

"It helps the bear out to not have to keep his mouth closed the whole time," Palmer said. "It's kind of unfair to the bear to keep him muzzled. We want it to be fun. We don't want it to be a sport. That's why the animal activists don't know what they are taking about when they come out here and try and go against what we do."

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