Well, depressing as it is, bears are still performing in some circuses. Many circuses have dispensed with animal performers because it has been banned and of course it is cruel as the training of these young bears shows.
I sense that most of these objectionable circuses are in Asia, specifically China, where by-and-large they have a poor relationship with animals from the animals’ perspective.
PETA has done the necessary slog when investigating “10 of the more than 300 circuses and animal training facilities in Suzhou, China”. They say that the experience was heartrending.
The bear cubs are chained by their necks and tethered to a wall. They have to remain upright sometimes for hours on end. The objective? To train them to walk on their hind legs.
This breaks their spirit. They learn that they must stand tall on their hind legs or they will choke and hang themselves. Some are tethered like this inside cages. There is one picture of two bears suffering these conditions with one of them trying to comfort the other. I think the photograph was taken at the time the video was made.
As you might expect, this sort of torture causes permanent joint damage. The deputy professor of veterinary medicine at China Agricultural University says that it can cause necrosis and paralysis. As they are put through this torture when they are young, they can suffer for the rest of their lives with the injuries.
Sometimes the bears are tethered on extremely short leads of about 2 feet to the ground. They can barely move more than a few inches in any direction.
There also forced to jump over objects and walk on their hands and perform other tricks. If they resist, they are abused by yanking on their neck ropes, being yelled at and forced to continue. If they continue to refuse, they are hit with a stick. Their snouts are pierced and a metal ring inserted without painkillers.
Ropes are tied to the ring to lead the animals. When left alone, they are left in barren metal cages. They struggle to try and get out by biting at the bars. It is complete, abject torture. And the rest of the world looks on impotently and can do nothing about it except to talk about it as I am in this article and as PETA does in there’s (the source of this article).
People in the West should realise that the social media platforms that we use in the West are banned in China so all the criticisms that we pile onto the Chinese on social media accounts is never seen in that country where there are no animal welfare laws of note.