WACO, Texas -- Baylor University has changed a decades-old
practice of having a black bear at home football games after
veterinarians said crowd noise could agitate the animal.
The decision follows a protest that began last year by members
of Chicago-based Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK), who
claimed the bears were driven into a state of psychosis because
they were kept in a mostly concrete environment.
The facility on the Waco campus houses two female North American
black bears: Joy, almost 2 years old, and Lady, almost 3.
School officials denied that the bears were being harmed and
cited satisfactory inspections by the U.S. Department of
But the school plans to start an $800,000 fund-raising drive
this fall to upgrade the facility built in 1976, said Larry
Brumley, a Baylor spokesman. The "bear pit" will extend along
Waco Creek with trees and more grass.