Moulin Rouge Star Pleads For Release Of Abused Polar Bears

For Immediate Release:
7 February 2002

Debbie Leahy – (630) 393-9627

Scottish film star Ewan McGregor, who recently hosted a BBC documentary about polar bears called The Bear Facts, would like to know what seven Arctic polar bears are doing in Puerto Rico, wasting away in a traveling circus. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, McGregor, whose recent movie Moulin Rouge has been nominated to receive an Oscar for “Best Picture,” asks that the animals be confiscated from their captors’ Mexico-based Suarez Bros. Circus’citing the suffering of the bears captured on PETA video.

The video shows the overheated bears panting constantly, enduring 113-degree heat, and being hit and whipped to force them to perform frightening tricks.

Last month, PETA amended its suit against the USDA and the Department of the Interior for violating federal laws pertaining to polar bears. That suit is still pending.

“I find it appalling that such intelligent and graceful animals have been forced to live in deplorable conditions for the sake of ‘entertainment,1” writes McGregor. PETA has offered to cover expenses to relocate the bears, and the American Zoo and Aquarium Association has offered assistance in placing the polar bears in accredited American zoos.

Videotape and photographs of the polar bears are available.

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Ewan McGregor’s letter to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton follows.