Watch: Russian Circus Bear Kicked after Attacking Handler on Stage, Internet Cries Animal Abuse
Russian has a long history of animals performing in circuses.
Image credit: Twitter
Viewers of a traveling circus in Russia were in for more than they had anticipated when a performing bear attacked its handler mid-performance.
The incident occurred in Olonets, a northwest Russian town in the Republic of Karelia on Wednesday. The bear had a muzzle on and was performing in an act called "Clubfoot and the Garden Wheelbarrow" which involves the bear pushing a wheelbarrow.
However, in a video shot during the performance, the bear can be seen walking along with its handler after pushing the wheelbarrow and then lunging forward and attacking the man in the middle of the act.
As per reports in Russian state-run news agency TASS, the bear was subdued with blows and kicks (as can be seen in the video), and a lot of effort by the circus staff but only after it had knocked the handler to the ground amid frantic screaming from the crowd which included children.
circus bear has enough, Moscow Russia pic.twitter.com/8lKjmPe13T— Happening (@witzhappening) October 25, 2019
Circus authorities put out a statement following the incident in which they confirmed that the the bear belonged to the handler and that the particular handler was no longer involved with the circus, neither was the act a part of further shows.
The circus also cancelled further shows planned in other nearby cities, TASS reported. The incident has brought back to the light the debate regarding the safety and ethical integrity of using wild animals for performative purposes with many including animal rights activists arguing that such practices led to animal abuse and exploitation.
The video of the Russian circus bear evoked many angry reactions on Twitter. Many were in favour of banning the use of animals for entertainment.
I’ve watched that bear attacking the trainer in Russia 456 times today. Rooted for bear 455 times— Scott Zolak (@scottzolak) October 26, 2019
Animals should not be used as acts the human gets what the human gives— Metal Zombie Goddess♀️☠️ (@Madisatan) October 25, 2019
What’s shocking is that people still think it’s ok to treat wild animals like this, shame on anyone who thinks this is ok. I’ll always be rooting for the bear ❤️— Michelle (@missmychelle74) October 25, 2019
I'm on the bear's side, this is cruel and unnatural for a bear to perform. Set him/her free.— Pat Hall (@PatsPat) October 25, 2019
While performing circus animals have long association with popular Russian entertainment, this is not the first time that the same has become a matter of debate. In May this year, a the mayor of a city in southern Russia banned the use of animals in circuses owing to ethical reasons.
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