Days after a judge ruled that conditions at Cherokee Bear Zoo, while “not ideal,” fall within federal regulations, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians began to talk about legislation that would make the concrete, shadeless enclosures illegal under tribal law.
After two-and-a-half years of litigation, the verdict is in on the Cherokee Bear Zoo — the case is dismissed, and business may continue as usual at the controversial menagerie.
After taking a hit in court earlier this month, the folks behind the annual Clay’s Corner Possum Drop got some good news that makes the prognosis for Brasstown’s 21st annual New Year’s Eve celebration look pretty positive.
Just like they have for the last two decades, residents of Clay County and beyond gathered in Brasstown to ring in the New Year with the annual Possum Drop. But unlike the last two decades, they had to do so without the aid of a live possum.
“We ended up using a pot of possum stew,” said Clay Logan, event organizer and owner of Clay’s Corner store. “We made it here at the store. We got a little private room in the back [where] we cook some.”
Osborne Farms is no longer in the dairy business, according to Joe Reardon, assistant commissioner for consumer protection in the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The farm has sold its herd of roughly 30 dairy cows, and but for a few calves the farm is now empty of bovines.
When Gna Wyatt called People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals about the manure piles covering Osborne Farms in Clyde, she wasn’t trying to make headlines. She just wanted life to get better for the cows she had spent the summer milking.
Swarming flies. Cows trudging through knee-deep manure. Lame legs, an overgrown hoof, blood oozing from a nose. Bones protruding from emaciated bodies. There’s no denying that the picture painted in a recently released video from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals was a grim one.
An animal rights groups has sued the U.S. Department of Agriculture, hoping to force the agency to set stricter standards for bears living in enclosures.
Despite being warned not to return to Cherokee without tribal permission, animal rights activists gathered once again last Saturday in front of Chief Saunooke Bear Park waving signs and even donning a bear costume to protest the allegedly inhumane condition of the bear pits.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has sued the Bureau of Indian Affairs for failing to hand over what it maintains are public documents under the Freedom of Information Act pertaining to the lease agreements for bear exhibitors in Cherokee.
PETA maintains about 30 bears are kept in what it characterizes as roadside zoos “in cramped, barren enclosures with no opportunity to express natural behavior.”
PETA maintains the Bureau of Indian Affairs is responsible for managing the lease agreements governing Indian trust lands — including those in Cherokee — and is required by federal law to release these agreements. The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court.
Cherokee bear pits have been the target of PETA over the past two years, from sidewalk protests to billboard campaigns, as well as vocal appeals to tribal government to shut down the attractions.