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St. Cloud sports show will still display live bears despite flak from PETA

PETA says the animals are suffering, but sports show organizers say they'd notice if anything was wrong.

This week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) called out the St. Cloud Sportsmen's Show over some bears that are set to make an appearance there.

The Great Bear Show travels around the country to fairs, sport shows and other events. According to the company's website, they do it "for the public to learn about and enjoy these amazing animals."

However, PETA said in its news release the show "drags apparently suffering animals, who are often chained, from town to town, forcing them to perform tricks."

The animal rights group called on the upcoming Sportsmen's Show to scrap having The Great Bear Show there.

But the manager of the Sportsmen's Show, Barry Cenaiko, told GoMN he has no plans to uninvite the bears.

Cenaiko went on to say they've worked with the bear show for 10-12 years and all their experiences have been positive. The bear show is always properly licensed too, he noted.

"Outdoorsmen are very protective of animals that come from the outdoors," Cenaiko explained. "We really do care about what’s going on out there."

The St. Cloud Sportsmen's Show runs Feb. 10-12 at the River's Edge Convention Center. The bears are scheduled to be there every day.

'Evidence' the bears are suffering

PETA has said there is evidence the bears being used in these shows are not happy or being taken care of.

According to the group, one bear named Barney was videotaped scratching excessively – which may indicate skin or hair irritation. Then there's an older one named Andy who PETA said is forced to stand on concrete even though he has arthritis. And another bear named Cindi was videotaped pacing back and forth – PETA said that's a sign of of psychological distress.

PETA went on to note the chains used to restrain the animals during shows are likely heavy and painful and could cause long-term trauma to the animals' bodies.

In response, Cenaiko told GoMN Sportsmen's Show organizers have spent a lot of time around the bears and have never seen anything haywire or concerning.

The show manager said he recently checked with organizers with The Great Bear Show in regards to the accusation that the bears are suffering. According to Cenaiko, the bear show organizer replied that what PETA calls evidence is really just bears being bears.

"I understand they’re out there to make sure animals are treated well," Cenaiko said of PETA. "There’s nothing wrong with that."

PETA said in a news release that it's rescued 57 bears over the past four years and had the animals taken to animal sanctuaries.

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