A bear forced to walk on his hind legs and push a wheelbarrow snapped, attacking a handler in a crowded circus mid-show—more proof that animals shouldn’t be made to perform pointless stunts for humans.
The incident, which reportedly occurred in Russia during Anshlag Tent Circus’ “Bow-Legged and the Wheelbarrow” performance, was caught on camera. In the footage above, children can be heard screaming while the bear charges one handler and gets kicked by another. There appears to be no safety barrier between the bear and spectators.
man nearly gets killed in russia by bear in circus it's time to outlaw this pic.twitter.com/lti2UYsLxS
— Anthony (@Anthonyclassic1) October 24, 2019
Even after being prodded with an electric-shock device, the bear reportedly walked “in a frenzied state” around the arena.
Had the circus done the right thing by featuring only talented and willing human performers, this tragic incident never would have occurred.
Public opposition to the exploitation of animals for entertainment is stronger than it’s ever been, yet companies like Anshlag Tent Circus continue to force animals to perform amid bright lights and blaring music, cart them around from place to place, and make them live in cramped cages.
Bears aren’t here to entertain crowds of humans. No animal is.
Of course this bear snapped—bears used by circuses are kept in a constant state of distress. The conditions they’re subjected to often cause them to become depressed and develop severe psychological problems. And that’s after they’ve been taken away from their mothers as cubs, tethered by the neck, and forcibly trained into performing confusing tricks.
Why is the bear in the video walking on his hind legs?
Walking on their hind legs is unnatural for bears. But during training, bears are often forced to stand on their hind legs for hours—if they can’t do it, they risk choking and hanging themselves. Cruel training methods like this were witnessed by a PETA Asia investigator who visited circuses and animal-training facilities in Suzhou, China.
For circuses, bear cubs are chained to a wall & forced to remain upright to learn how to walk on their hind legs. pic.twitter.com/RJ81gvXFlT
— PETA (@peta) July 18, 2016
And if you think this cruelty is limited to Russia and China, don’t kid yourself. Dangerous, demeaning acts like this exist in the U.S., too. Take Castle’s Bears, for example, which dresses bear sisters Nanook and Tutter in ridiculous costumes, muzzles them, yanks them around on leashes, and forces them to perform confusing and possibly painful tricks for many Shrine circuses.
At Rosaire’s Bears—which has been cited by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for failing to meet even the minimum standards of animal care—bears have been observed being almost constantly slapped, poked, and jabbed during performances, during which they’re muzzled and coerced into doing tricks such as going down a slide.
More than 413,000 people have asked Castle’s Bears and Rosaire’s Bears to stop forcing bears to perform confusing tricks and retire them to reputable sanctuaries where they can have the opportunity to roam, swim, and forage.
You Can Help Bears, Too
In addition to refusing to attend circuses that use animals and urging your family and friends to do the same, please click below to tell Castle’s Bears to stop forcing Nanook and Tutter to perform demeaning tricks …
… and help free the animals at Rosaire’s Bears from muzzles and travel trailers: