Russian Circus Bear Attacks Its Handlers After Being Beaten With Sticks
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A circus bear that was being forced to ride around on what appears to be a skateboard has turned on its handlers and attacked them in front of an audience containing children.
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
The attack took place in the Village of Olkhovka, which is in the Volgograd region of Russia. England's World Cup 2018 campaign begins in Volgograd with a match against Tunisia this evening.
The brown bear was also seen to be beaten with sticks by the circus' animal keepers.
A visibly shocked audience can be heard screaming as the bear rides down a ramp on the wheeled device before turning on the people forcing it to perform. The circus workers beat the bear with sticks after it managed to pin another one of them to the ground.
People at the show said that the animal was visibly agitated and didn't want to be on the stage or in the arena. The animal was seen to be aggressive with a woman handler before becoming further enraged after being hit with the sticks.
There do not appear to have been any barriers in the arena to stop the angry bear getting into the crowd. The handler that was hauled to the ground by the bear after being overpowered can be seen towards the end of the video and does not look to have sustained any serious injury.
Anastasia Mishcherina, from the Volgograd region, said: "My relatives and their little son went to the show.
"They sat in the front row, when they announced the performance of a "bear-visionary" or something of that kind. My relatives wanted to take a video and went closer to the exit.
"Even on video it is clear that the animal was nervous. Reluctantly slipping off the ramp, the animal wanted to leave, but he was pulled back.
"Perhaps he realised that another flogging was waiting for him, and he decided to attack first."
Another local, known only as Nikolay, said: "The circus is still in the village. They came from St. Petersburg - but now the whole of Olkhovka passes by their big top tent in fear.
"I hope that the relevant authorities will conduct a check and understand what is going on in this circus."
Back in April a Russian lower league team were criticised for having a performing bear deliver the match ball to the referee at the start of one of their games.
'Tim' the bear brought out the ball wearing a muzzle before the kick off of a fixture between Mashuk-KMV and Angusht in Pyatigorsk.
At the time, Elisa Allen, from animal rights 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."