Animal rights group slam bear use at Russian soccer match

Anzhi's head coach Alexander Grigoryan during the Russian Football Premier League's Round 30 match between CSKA Moscow and Anzhi Makhachkala

The Russian football league has been criticised after a trained bear was forced to perform tricks before a third division game. In a widely circulated video, the bear is seen standing on his hind legs while clapping to fans.

However, the real entertainment - if you can call it that - came before a ball had been kicked in anger when a real, live brown bear was tasked with handing over the match-ball to the referee, who didn't seem to bat an eyelid at the prospect.

The New York-based World Animal Protection group condemned the stunt Monday, saying that it's clear from the footage that "cruel training methods have been used" on the bear.

Russia's chief prosecutor says law enforcement agencies have thwarted an alleged plot by right-wing soccer fans to derail events at the World Cup.

Elisa Allen, director of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) UK, has reacted strongly to this incident and termed it "downright dangerous" as well.


The freakish footage has been criticised by animal rights charities, with Elisa Allen, director of animal welfare charity Peta, calling it "utterly out of touch".

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.

Allen said: "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".

"While some supposedly find this depressing scene "entertaining" there is nothing at all light-hearted about this kind of abuse", da Cal said.

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