Oxfordshire bear cub show appearance on despite protests

Facebook post by Animal Defenders International Image copyright Animal Defenders International
Image caption Animal Defenders International posted a Facebook message on Thursday

A planned appearance of three bear cubs at an annual show in Oxfordshire will go ahead despite calls from an animal welfare group for it to be dropped.

Animal Defenders International (ADI) said it received a complaint about the Enstone Show, to be held on Saturday.

It posted a Facebook message on Thursday calling on supporters to email organiser Kate Farquhar-Thomson.

She said she had been bombarded with hundreds of protest messages but vowed the show would still go on.

Ms Farquhar-Thomson said the emails had generally been polite but she has contacted police, who said they are aware of the situation, about abuse on Twitter and Facebook.

The European brown bear cubs are being provided by Amazing Animals, based at Heythrop Zoological Gardens.

'Not for entertainment'

Ms Farquhar-Thomson said the company had provided animals for the show over a number of years, including lion cubs, camels and tarantulas.

She said: "The bear cubs are not for entertainment they are for education.

"Some of the messages have been abusive but I'm trying not to take it personally.

"We have had a lot of support and the bear show will go ahead as planned."

ADI president Jan Creamer said the group had not raised the issue at previous events as this was the first time it had received a complaint from a member of the public in advance.

She added: "...we would urge people to be polite and let the facts speak for themselves.

"Using wild animals for entertainment compromises their welfare, denying them of the normal, social and mental stimulation they would enjoy in their natural habitat. It is unnecessary and unethical."

Jim Clubb, from Heythrop Zoological Gardens, said its premises were licensed by West Oxfordshire council and its animals regularly inspected.

He said: "There will be three young bears who at no time are to be touched or petted by members of the public."

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