Animal advocates across the globe are outraged after a video of a circus bear performing at a Russian soccer game surfaced on Youtube. This video shows a Grizzly bear being led onto the field in front of players and spectators while being forced to clap and hand the ball to the referee. This is wrong on so many levels and leaves many unanswered questions – it’s honestly confusing why this was even allowed to happen.

The first thought that comes to mind for most is what a bear has to do with soccer at all. Well, the answer is absolutely nothing. The bear is, however, the symbol of Russia so it is believed that the bear was intended to be used in the opening ceremony of the World Cup coming up in June, although FIFA has since denied these claims.

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Elisa Allen, the director of PETA stated, “…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.”

As the country’s symbol, one would think this bear would be shown more respect instead of being humiliated and forced to perform silly and unnatural stunts for human entertainment. The worst part for these innocent beings is what occurs behind the scenes. Wild animals in captivity are regularly beaten and scared into learning routines, and they are typically confined to tiny enclosures and denied any form of natural existence.

Additionally, it should be noted how dangerous it is to the audience and players, as the Grizzly bear is still a wild animal regardless of their level of training. Wild animals turning on their handlers, spectators, and even other animals have been documented numerous times in circuses around the world.

Wild animals deserve to live free from exploitation. There are far more rewarding ways to experience the beauty and wonder of wild animals — click here to find out how!

To learn more about wild animals in circuses, explore the following links: