Published: Tue, April 17, 2018
Sport | By Cameron Gross

Bear Visits Professional Football League Game

Bear Visits Professional Football League Game

Animal rights groups have condemned the use of a bear that performed before a Russian soccer match.

The animal, known as Tim, was led into the stadium by his trainer for the game between Mashuk-KMV and Angusht.

Forced to stand on its hind legs, the bear passed the ball to the referee before appearing to clap along with the home crowd.

He then passes the ball to the referee after being prompted by his handler.

While responding to the incident, the animal welfare group as termed the act as "inhumane and shocking" arguing that the rights of the animal were trampled upon in the process.

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"In addition to being inhumane and utterly out of touch, using a bear as a captive servant to deliver a football is downright unsafe", said Elisa Allen, the director of animal welfare charity Peta.

Russian Federation is the host nation for this year's tournament, and the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) group have urged the country to stop abusing bears.

While unconfirmed, it's reported that the Russian officials responsible were using the third-tier match as a tester to see whether the bear could perform the handover as they are planning to do the same ahead of the opening match at the 2018 World Cup.

The bear is Russia's national symbol and has just this week been incorporated into the country's premier league logo. "Common decency should compel the football league to pull this stunt, which flies in the face of the spirit of fair play".

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