Alec Baldwin Speaks Out Against 'Sleazy' Bear Cub Petting For PETA

Alec Baldwin, a longtime supporter of PETA, is speaking out against bear cub petting facilities, and urging fans to avoid paid cub-petting "encounters."

The embattled actor teamed up with the animal rights organization to urge the public to avoid facilities that offer bear cub petting as a form of family entertainment.

In a video shared with Newsweek, Baldwin makes an appeal to families never to visit any operation that tears cubs away from their mothers and treats them as photo props.

"These events are part of an industry dependent on destroying families," Baldwin says in the video. "Each cub is an infant who writhes and cries when torn from their adoring mother and denied that crucial bond. ​​Separated cubs are just a way for sleazy operators to make a quick buck by using them as props in photo sessions."

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin narrates a new PETA video exposing the suffering of bear cubs used in paid cub-petting “encounters.” The actor calls the facilities "part of an industry dependent on destroying families." PETA

According to PETA, three roadside zoos across the United States are among the worst offenders for bears: Oswald's Bear Ranch in Newberry, Michigan; Yellowstone Bear World in Rexburg, Idaho; and Cherokee Bear Zoo in Cherokee, North Carolina.

PETA stated that deaths have occurred at Oswald's Bear Ranch and bear cubs have been observed "crying, struggling to escape being passed around like toys, and lying limp with apparent exhaustion and from overheating" at Yellowstone Bear World.

Meanwhile, the organization claims that at Cherokee Bear Zoo, "pacing and whimpering bears are held in desolate concrete pits and cramped cages with nothing to do but beg for morsels of food from visitors."

Newsweek reached out to Oswald's Bear Ranch, Yellowstone Bear World, and Cherokee Bear Zoo for comment.

Last year, Oswald's Bear Ranch responded to a complaint from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to say that the ranch "has always abided by the rules of the federal (AWA) Animal Welfare Act."

"Oswald's Bear Ranch looks forward to it's [sic] American justice 'Day in Court' to refute allegations now being rehashed and instigated by animal rights groups," Oswald's said in a statement. "A second issue of the bear's omnivore diet, after 30+ yrs of operation, has been found to be in compliance by our federal USDA Inspector after he received 8 separate complaints by PETA. The federal inspector's latest findings document NO areas of noncompliance.

"Oswald's Bear Ranch will continue to provide the finest natural environments and care for our rescued bears. Conservation and safety is our primary focus as 'Animal-Visitor Interactions' continue to be a favorite family friendly activity," the statement said.

The ranch was later required to pay a $2,400 civil penalty to the USDA just last year to settle AWA violations.

In the PETA video, Baldwin says that "distressed cubs claw at the air until they are exhausted and then hang like a rag doll over one stranger's arm after another."

"These young bears develop abnormal stress-related coping behaviors including pacing and head swinging after a year or two some roadside zoos kill the bears, likely to free up space for next year's cubs and the cycle of abuse continues."

The state of Indiana has just passed a bill prohibiting direct public contact with big cats and bears and the ban on direct contact with certain dangerous wild animals follows similar restrictions in Nevada, Virginia, Kansas, Connecticut, Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Tennessee, according to the Humane Society.

Baldwin's PETA campaign comes just weeks after the actor snapped back at a Twitter user who made a joke about the shooting on the set of Rust, and vowed to find the man.

"When I am eventually not charged with any crime, I'll come find you so you can apologize. I'll find you Mike," Baldwin wrote in his now-deleted tweet. Twitter user @mwreyes had replied to a tweet from Baldwin about former President Donald Trump with a joke about the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Hutchins' family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the Rust production team, including Baldwin, after a prop gun being handled by the actor on set discharged, killing the cinematographer.

Baldwin has also recently courted controversy by interviewing filmmaker Woody Allen.

Update 07/07/22, 9:40 a.m. ET: This article was updated to add that Oswald's Bear Ranch paid a $2,400 civil penalty to the USDA in 2021.