Anger as Russian teams use performing bear to start football match

Jose Verdugo
Abril 17, 2018

The bear, named Tima, is seen holding the match ball before clapping to fans before kick-off in the third-tier match between Mashuk-KMV and Angusht in Pyatigorsk on Saturday, while standing on his hind legs.

Mimi Bekcechi, head of campaigns for PETA Australia, slammed the footage as "inhumane and utterly out of touch".

The bear then clapped the crowd before returning from whence it came...

Several viewers left comments under the video criticising the show as "ridiculous" and "absurd", with one asking: "How many times they were beating him to train him?"

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"In addition to being inhumane and utterly out of touch, using a bear as a captive servant to deliver a football is downright unsafe".

The stadium's announcer claimed that the bear will take part in the World Cup's opening ceremony in Moscow in June, but soccer authorities haven't confirmed that.

PETA said the incident highlights the cruel exploitation methods known to occur in Russian Federation such as "beatings, electric shocks and food deprivation" that are used to make bears perform "belittling, stupid tricks".

'The bear is the symbol of Russian Federation, so we hope the country's people will show some compassion and national pride and stop abusing them. "Common decency should compel the football league to pull this stunt, which flies in the face of the spirit of fair play", the statement added. However, the BBC reports that tournament organisers Federation Internationale de Football Association have denied that claim.

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