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Legislation would allow handling of bear cubs in Michigan

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The State House this week approved a bill that will allow the public in Michigan to interact with bear cubs that are under nine months old and under 90 pounds.

The legislation was inspired by the plight of Oswald's Bear Ranch, in the Upper Peninsula. The Newberry area establishment had been offering visitors a chance to have their pictures taken with black bear cubs for about 15 years, but was told recently by the US Fish and Wildlife Service that what it was doing was, in fact, illegal. State Representative Ed McBroom, of Vulcan, says that most lawmakers agreed Oswald's wasn't putting anyone in danger.Opponents say that letting people near bears -- even very small ones -- could pose health risks.

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