Animal Defenders International (ADI) has condemned the appearance of a circus bear at a football match in Russia, the host nation of the World Cup in June.

A video shows the bear, known as Tim, being forced to stand on his hind legs, hold a football and ‘clap’ repeatedly before the game between Mashuk-KMV and Angushta in Pyatigorsk.

ADI President Jan Creamer said: “The sight of this poor bear, forced to perform tricks for the crowd, should shame us all. An incredible, intelligent and inquisitive wild animal reduced to a figure of fun.

All that we learn from using animals in entertainment are the reasons why it must stop. Avoid these sickening shows and support the efforts of ADI and others to stop circus suffering.”

Last year a bear called Tim, from a travelling circus run by the Polar Wolves bike club, was filmed riding in a motorcycle sidecar in Arkhangelsk.

Studies of the use of wild animals in travelling circuses show that circuses cannot meet the physical or behavioural needs of wild animals.

Animals are confined in small spaces, deprived of physical and social needs, spending excessive amounts of time shut in transporters. These animals are often seen behaving abnormally; rocking, swaying and pacing, all indicating that they are in distress and not coping with their environment.

ADI’s video evidence has shown how these animals are forced to perform tricks through physical violence, fear and intimidation.

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