Concerns raised about Bengal tiger show planned for Kane County Fair

  • A tiger performs at a previous Kane County Fair. Protesters are calling for the fair to cancel a tiger act.

    A tiger performs at a previous Kane County Fair. Protesters are calling for the fair to cancel a tiger act. Sandy Bressner/Shaw Media

Updated 6/25/2021 2:56 PM

A Bengal tiger show set to take place at next month's Kane County Fair is generating controversy.

Kane County Animal Control Director Brett Youngsteadt said he has received numerous comments about the Bengal Tiger Encounter show, which is part of the fair scheduled for July 14-18 at the Kane County Fairgrounds in St. Charles.


In response, Youngsteadt said the county does not have the authority to shut down the show. However, he said, the department will strictly enforce state and local statutes regarding the humane care and treatment of animals.

"Kane County Animal Control takes animal care and safety very seriously," Youngsteadt said in a statement. "We will ensure that every animal act that comes through this county is treated humanely. We will conduct a thorough inspection of everything -- animals and enclosures included -- as soon as they arrive in Kane County and continue to monitor them while they are in our jurisdiction."

The Bengal Tiger Encounter is booked by the Kane County Fair Board of Directors and operated by Variety Attractions, the talent buyer of record for 350 acts nationwide.

Representatives for Variety Attractions could not be reached for comment.

Kane County Fair Board President Larry Breon said the fair board will make sure animals in the show are treated properly.

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"That goes without saying, absolutely," Breon said.

The show has previously been part of the Kane County Fair. Last year's fair was canceled because of the pandemic.

Kane County Board Chair Corinne Pierog pointed out the county fair is not affiliated in any way with Kane County government.

"KCAC does not have the authority to stop an act like this from performing in our county, as we are non-home ruled," Pierog said. "This decision would have to be made at the state level to change the authority given to the counties."

She recommended those who have concerns reach out to their local state representatives.

"We too care very much about these animals and will continue to ensure that anyone that comes through Kane County treats all animals with the utmost care," Pierog said.

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