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For Immediate Release: 04/23/08

California man mauled to death by Grizzly bear used in Hollywood films

Star of classic movie “Born Free” calls for moratorium on use of wild animals in entertainment

Sacramento, CA — A 39-year-old Hollywood animal trainer, Stephan Miller, was mauled to death yesterday by a Grizzly bear that had recently been featured in the Will Ferrell movie, Semi-Pro. The 5-year-old bear named Rocky attacked and killed the man during a training session. Reports indicate the Mr. Miller died from a massive neck wound at his cousin Randy Miller’s Predators in Action private breeding facility in the San Bernardino Mountains.

The U.S.-based wildlife advocacy group, Born Free USA united with Animal Protection Institute (Born Free USA), has long warned of the dangers of using wild animals in entertainment and has documented dozens of deaths and attacks by wild animals at facilities using wild animals for amusement.

“This is a tragedy for all concerned and highlights the unacceptable dangers associated with the private ownership of exotic animals and the use of wild animals as entertainment in the U.S and elsewhere,” said Virginia McKenna, star of the classic 1966 wildlife movie Born Free and founder of the Born Free Foundation (UK). “The movie industry urgently needs to use its technological and creative imagination to put an end to the use of live wild animals in commercials and movies. Hollywood is a dream factory — this time the dream has become a nightmare.”

“This is truly shocking incident but I am not surprised. These are wild animals and there are no guarantees. Just look at what happened to Roy Horn in Las Vegas when Montecore, one of his white Bengal tigers, nearly ended it all,” says Will Travers, Chief Executive Officer of Born Free USA. “How many more tragedies will it take before the entertainment industry wakes up and understands that it’s not safe, it’s not necessary, and it should not be allowed?”

Born Free USA (www.bornfreeusa.org) is a national non-profit animal welfare and conservation organization and a member of the Captive Wild Animal Protection Coalition (www.cwapc.org).

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Contact:
Zibby Wilder, Born Free USA, 916.267.7266, press@bornfreeusa.org

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