WATCH: Bear Forced to Present Ball During Russian Soccer Match

Posted on by PETA

Over the weekend, during a soccer match in Russia, a bear named Tim was forced to deliver the ball to the referee at the start of the game. Video footage of the cruel, senseless stunt promptly went viral:

In addition to being forced to handle the game ball and interact with the referee, Tim—who was wearing a muzzle during the exploitation—was also paraded around the track by his handler, passing photographers and loud, rowdy spectators. The video also shows Tim being forced to clap his hands and perform other belittling, stupid tricks for “entertainment.”

In addition to being inhumane and utterly outdated, forcing a bear to perform as a captive servant at a soccer game is downright dangerous, even if the animal’s teeth and claws have been cruelly removed.

Bears are not willing performers, so circuses and other cruel acts take them away from their mothers as babies and then “train” them through the use of beatings, electric shocks, cigarette burns, and food deprivation to perform tricks—like the one in this case—that are belittling, stupid, and confusing to them.

“Walking around the premises of the circus, I constantly heard the sound of slaps, hits, screams, groans and shrieks of animals in pain,” an eyewitness at one Russian circus reported.

The bear is the symbol of Russia, so PETA hopes the country’s people will show some compassion and national pride and stop abusing these animals. Common decency should compel the soccer league to pull this stunt, which violates the spirit of fair play.

Wild Animals Belong in the Wild, NOT on Stage

Wild animals don’t perform because they want to—they do it because they’ve learned that if they don’t, they’ll be whipped, beaten, or otherwise tormented. Cowardly circus trainers protect themselves from animals’ natural instincts with force—and in the case of bears, by removing their teeth and nails.

Although the tide is turning against the exploitation of wild animals for human “entertainment,” bears and other animals still need our help. Click the button below to help bears like Tim who are still being used and abused for the entertainment industry: