This is the moment a bear wails in apparent distress as it is attached to a fence on a short lead to promote a travelling circus.
The circus had turned up to pitch its tents on an open space belonging to a hospital in the city of Bodaibo, in the Russian Irkutsk Region, and wanted to make people aware of the fact that they were there by chaining the bear to the fence outside.
Video Credit: CEN/@burmatoff
Irkutsk is ruled by Sergey Levchenko, the powerful governor of gold-rich region in Siberia who was in the news last September when he was filmed shooting into a hole where a bear was hibernating.
The dead bear was then pulled out dead as a trophy for the politician by six men who put a rope around its neck to pull it from the hole. He was surrounded by supporters who praised his bravery and offered their congratulations for what critics described as shooting a ‘sitting duck’.
The chained bear in the latest scandal quickly attracted a crowd filming the animal that was being made to stand and according to State Duma deputy Vladimir Burmatov many people have contacted him by social media to demand a ban on the circus for its cruel treatment of the bear.
He said: “The travelling circus turned up suddenly and tied the bear to a fence and as a result we received dozens of complaints about it.”
Speaking to Central European News (CEN), Carsten Hertwig who is a bear expert from the charity Four Paws said: “We are aware about the incident with a travelling circus in Irkutsk that abused a young Asiatic black bear for promotion purposes in a very cruel way.
“Tied to a fence, and being forced to stand on his hind legs only, this bear was left behind in public for hours as an advertisement for his owner and the circus he belongs to. Probably as a sign of stress, the bear was wailing permanently.”
“Four paws strongly criticises this incident and the cruel abuse of wild animals for show and promotion purposes, especially as it stands in stark contrast to the new animal welfare law resp. new bill banning animal cruelty, passed by Vladimir Putin last year.
“This new bill introduces rules and extra requirements for keeping wild animals in circuses and zoos. Furthermore, it stipulates that keeping wild animals without an official license is forbidden which will make it harder for “semi-legal” businesses like small travelling circuses to operate in future. “
The local council in Bodaibo said that the service had applied for a permit to perform, but had been refused, and had then turned up anyway. They said it was unclear if they had permission to use the land around the clinic and are investigating
As it turned out, the Bodaibo city administration had previously refused a work permit to the circus. Then, with the permission of regional officials, the circus was located on the territory of the clinic located in the region, not in the city.
MP Burmatov said: “And who is the governor of the Irkutsk region? That’s right, the famous “lover” of bears “comrade” Levchenko. A bear is tied to a fence located on the territory of the health care institution of the Irkutsk region, another chaos where no one is responsible.”
He also said the head doctor should share his thoughts and asked how the Federal Service for Supervision of Health thought about the fact that the clinic was turned into a circus and a concentration camp for animals.
The deputy noted that it was clearly animal cruelty and confirmed it was making a report prosecutor’s office.
Four paws said they doubt that even with the introduction of the new animal welfare law such incidents like in Irkutsk will be a thing of the past in Russia, as there are still “several hundred bears and other wild animals in kept in bad conditions throughout the whole country, either in private captivity or in substandard zoos or travelling circuses”.
The bear expert added: “On the other hand, there’s a lack of species-appropriate accommodations for confiscated wild animals which will make a quick and proper enforcement of the new animal welfare law difficult.
“The Russian state is requested to take action and remedy this situation but so far a clear approach to solve the problem is missing. Therefore, Four Paws is currently considering to address this issue and evaluate possible solutions in future.”
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Story By: Ginger Mahotchina, Sub-Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Central European News
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