There has been outcry from both animal rights organisations and the general public, after a performing bear was filmed clapping and handing over the ball at a third-tier football game in Pyatigorsk.
The circus bear ‘Tim’ was walked onto the field by its trainer, before being seen clapping and handing the ball over to the referee.
Russia will be holding the 2018 world cup from the 14 June.
Elisa Allen, director of animal welfare charity Peta, said: “In addition to being inhumane and utterly out of touch, using a bear as a captive servant to deliver a football is downright dangerous,”
“The bear is the symbol of Russia, so we hope the country’s people will show some compassion and national pride and stop abusing them. Common decency should compel the league to pull this stunt.”
The away team, Angusht, claimed that the performing bear was to be used in the opening ceremony of the World Cup, however, FIFA have distanced themselves from such a claim.
Bears are often forced to perform in circuses and at events in Russia, so it’s no surprise that a performing bear was brought onto a football match.
However, with the huge online backlash, it seems unlikely that Russia would make the mistake of allowing a performing bear at the opening ceremony of the World Cup in just a few weeks time.