Bob Barker Asks Cherokee Chief To End North Carolina Bear Pits

Bob Barker at The 14th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Bob Barker at The 14th Annual Los Angeles Times Festival of Books

Former game-show host and longtime animal-rights activist Bob Barker hopes to persuade the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina to close bear pits used as tourist attractions.

Barker met Tuesday in the town of Cherokee with Chief Michell Hicks to discuss the use of bears. Debbie Leahy of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals accompanied him.

Barker will discuss the meeting at a news conference Wednesday in Asheville. He wrote to Hicks in June asking that he close bear pits at three locations.

Hicks told the Asheville Citizen-Times that the tribe follows federal regulations in caring for the bears. Barker says bear pits are inhumane.

The 85-year-old Barker is part American Indian and grew up on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota.

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