Friday, April 25, 2008

Predators in Action an Ironic Truth

I have been thinking allot about the death of the animal trainer Stephan Miller yesterday. I feel the need to make some comments about this tragedy. It is all over the news about how Randy Miller's cousin Stephen Miller was killed by the five year old, hand-reared grizzly bear the Millers kept at their place of business called "Predators in Action". This man was killed during the filming of a commercial using this 700 pound grizzly bear. It seems more than ironic they called the business Predators in Action because that is just what we saw yesterday. We saw an adult, male grizzly bear very cleanly and quickly kill a human which for a grizzly is as natural as breathing. That is what these bears were designed to do. In my opinion it should not be legal to keep a grizzly bear for any other purpose but to save the species or educate the public in a facility like an accredited zoo. It is cruel to make a predator like this live such a unnatural life and for a bear to be forced to perform for the profit of its owners. It matters not that the Millers loved this bear. It does not matter that the bear seemed to return the affection. None of that is of any import because it breaks all the laws of nature to pervert a predators natural ways of living into a commercial venture. This was a mature male predator kept in a very confined, unnatural setting and made to do things that are very unnatural for a bear. One thing I have learned from raising animals for 25 years is that first and foremost you must show respect for an animal especially for one more powerful than yourself. Secondly I have learned the most dangerous animals are those fostered by humans and reared in situation where they are taught to have no fear of people. Thirdly, I have learned that adult male animals should be respected even more and given a great deal of consideration and space. What the Millers did is take a very big gamble and they lost and lost big. It's silly to keep repeating how careful and experienced they were with training large predators and what a good safety record they had. There is no way to be safe and do what they were doing. I had a friend killed by an male bison she raised on a bottle. She too loved her animal and it loved her, but when it was in a situation where it's instincts took over it took her life. The most dangerous animal I ever owned was a Scottish Blackface ram that I reared on a bottle because its dam had no milk. I ended up having to slaughter it because it tried to kill me when it matured. Something interesting I have found is that often the average age these animals turn aggressive is exactly five, the age of this grizzly bear that killed Stephan Miller . It seems that five years is just enough time for these animals to figure out how we tick and to know their own strength. My ultimate point in this is that keeping a bear like this is exactly like playing Russian Roulette. At some point the bullet will be in the chamber after you spin the cylinder enough times. Stephan Miller really killed himself. He chose death by bear. After all the publicity around the killing of Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend in Alaska you would think people would finally respect North America's most powerful land predator and learn to love it from a distance. I looked at the macho personal web page today of Randy Miller which plays heavy metal music and shows a avatar of himself in the embrace of a grizzly and I thought, "Hmmm another arrogant human once more living outside nature not in it." Let us humans begin a new age where people truly respect wild animals and stop trying to use them in ways that are not in their best interest. With all the fantastic special effects that can be done digitally there is no reason to use these animals in movie production in close contact with people. It's obscene to risk human life and treat wild animals this way just to make money. This male grizzly was doomed the minute he was fed by humans. It's sad but true. What ever its fate be it that he is killed or kept alive his life is so far from what nature intended it cannot be considered a life fit for the king of North American land predators. If you love the grizzly bear you cannot see keeping them as trained performers as humane or righteous. I am truly sorry for the family of Stephan Miller and no way mean to be less than respectful. I do feel sympathy for his loved ones but I hope this horrible tragedy will change the way things are done in Hollywood and hope it will change peoples minds about how bears are handled. Doing some research I have found that Randy Miller has disposed of a number of big cats and bears through the private exotic animal trade which is very sad. Many of those animals end up on shooting ranches in TX and Florida. Predators in Action has been cited by the USDA for numerous noncompliances with the federal Animal Welfare Act--including failure to comply with veterinary care requirements; failure to provide minimum space and shelter from cold, snowy weather; failure to provide a veterinarian-approved diet plan for the big cats; failure to repair outdoor shelters; and failure to provide drinking water. Aerial photos of Miller's property show that the bears are kept in cramped pens.

Randy Miller
Predators in Action
P.O. Box 1691
Big Bear City, CA 92314

Watching this still raises the hair on the back of my neck its like a dress rehearsal for death. I am no fan of PETA but this kind of thing is not what we should be doing with wild animals

Reaching weights of about 400- 1500 lbs, the grizzly bear is mainly nocturnal and in preparation for winter will put on hundreds of pound of fat before going into hibernation. Their coloring ranges from blond to deep brown or black. The grizzly has a large hump over the shoulders which is a muscle mass used to power the forelimbs in digging. The head is large and round with a concave facial profile. In spite of their massive size this bear runs at speeds of up to 35 mph. Being omnivores, they feed on a variety of plants and berries including roots or sprouts and fungi as well as fish, insects and small mammals. Normally a solitary animal, the grizzly congregates alongside streams and rivers during the salmon spawn. Every other year females produce 1-4 young which are small and weigh only about 1 pound.

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