State Senate approves bear cub petting zoos

Feb 15, 2013

A bill to let people hold, pet, and take pictures with bear cubs has passed the state Senate. The measure would allow an Upper Peninsula bear ranch to continue to offer the experience. It would let the public handle bears up to 36 weeks old or less than 90 pounds.

Senator Rebekah Warren voted against the bill.

She says lawmakers should put residents’ safety ahead of the financial benefit of a single business.

“It’s just this reminder that wild animals do always have the potential to be dangerous, to act in a way that’s unpredictable that could result in harm to our citizens.”

Supporters say the bear cubs pose no threat to visitors, and the ranch brings in much needed revenue to its community.

Governor Rick Snyder recently vetoed similar legislation that included controversial changes to zoo regulations. That language was taken out of the new version.

The bill now goes to the state House.