Two men fought with the brown bear, with a witness describing the animal as suffering multiple ‘blows with a whip’. It attacked its pregnant trainer during the sickening live show
A visibly distressed brown bear lashed out at its pregnant trainer while being forced to “perform” as part of an archaic and much-criticised animal circus in Russia.
Bears, like other animals made to take part in circus acts, are often savagely beaten as part of their ‘training’, which can leave them psychologically and mentally scarred from the abuse.
Two men fought with the brown bear, with a witness describing the animal suffering multiple “blows with a whip” after it attacked its pregnant trainer during the sickening live show.
The terrifying incident was witnessed by screaming children and their parents in the city of Oryol, in western Russia, and the circus performer was taken to hospital despite claiming her injuries were minimal.
There was another bear and ‘trainer’ in the ring at the outdated circus at the time of the attack.
The unnamed woman injured by the bear attempted to claim it lashed out because she was pregnant, rather than as a result of the well-documented mental ordeal circus animals face on a daily basis.
She said: “I literally have two scratches and a slight bruise on my leg. With the animal, too, everything is fine, and my baby, all is normal.
She speculated: “Perhaps it was jealousy to some extent, since I am pregnant. There can be many nuances.
“I will, of course, deal with this incident with more experienced colleagues. At the moment, the bear behaves to me the same way as usual.
“It behaves affectionately and fondly again as if nothing happened.”
Despite the trainer’s claims the bear now acts “fondly” towards her, witnesses say they saw the bear in a cage before the show in an agitated state.
Irina Novozhilova, of animal rights group VITA, called for the ban on the outdated practice of circuses with live animals, which bizarrely remains a popular attraction in Russia and other countries.
“No circus conditions will be humane for one simple reason,” she said.
“Training goes hand in hand with cruelty. Circuses are always cruel beyond limits and circuses with animals should be banned.”
The use of animals in UK circuses are thankfully banned.
The charity Bear Conservation says on its website: “Bears are still kept in travelling and shows circuses in many parts of the world.
“Generally sanitation levels are poor, exercise largely non-existent, space highly limited, food inappropriate and general living and transportation conditions appalling.”
The Russian Investigative Committee has launched a probe into the incident and the bear will not be taking part in any future performances.
“The investigation is undertaking a set of measures to establish all the circumstances of the incident, interviewing circus employees, and witnesses,” said a source.