"Being chained up, muzzled and forced to perform unnatural acts in front of large, rowdy crowds of people causes tremendous stress and can have an untold impact on these animals, both psychological and physical."

FOOTBALL FANS across the world are up in arms after a video showed a trained bear being made to hand the ball to the referee before he was forced to clap for Russian fans at the start of a match in a mindless display of animal cruelty. The Russian Football Federation (RFF) has been criticised for allowing the circus bear to perform tricks for fans ahead of third division game between Mashuk-KMV and Angusht in the southern city of Pyatigorsk.

In the video, the defenceless bear named Tim is restrained with a muzzle over his snout and mouth, while his handler forces him to stand on his hing legs and applaud the crowd. He is then made to clasp a football between his front paws, before handing it back to the referee and clapping to signal the start of the game.

Elisa Allen, Animal Welfare Charity Director blasted the incident as cruel and “utterly out of touch”. She said: “In addition to being inhumane, using a bear as a captive servant to deliver a football is downright dangerous.

“The bear is the symbol of Russia, so we hope the country's people will show some compassion and national pride and stop abusing them.

“Common decency should compel the league to pull this stunt.”

According to the BBC, FIFA has denied Tim would be used for the opening ceremony at this summer's World Cup, which is held in the country in June. But animal rights campaigners have branded the incident as a shocking example of animal cruelty and exploitation.

Brian da Cal, country director of Four Paws UK, said: "While some supposedly find this depressing scene 'entertaining' there is nothing at all light-hearted about this kind of abuse.

"Bears are wild animals and as such have very specific and complex needs.

Russian football is currently in the spotlight as further questions are raised about the validity and safety of the forthcoming tournament this summer. England fans are now questioning whether the nation should pull out of the Russian-organised World Cup.

Responses to "Russia World Cup 2018: Muzzled bear forced to perform for fans ahead of game"

Write a comment