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The ‘cruel’ lives of the circus bears who perform to raise money for the Shriners is revealed

Ryan Parry: ‘Muzzled and on a short leash the large brown bear grimaces as it is made to mount a bicycle and ride in a circle to the delight of screaming children and their parents. If the animal puts a foot wrong a trainer is on hand with a long stick to prod the bear back in line. Next the majestic 400lb beast, dressed in a gaudy red and gold sequined waistcoat, is coaxed to balance uncomfortably on a barrel and shuffle forward, before being led up on to its front paws and made to walk gingerly down a ladder from a raised platform. The unnatural scenes are more reminiscent of a show at a medieval fair than of modern America.

But these bears were most recently seen performing tricks at the Shrine Circus in Lincoln, Nebraska. The disturbing footage… shows the Castle Hall Performing Bears company, a traveling troupe of bears which regularly entertains people across the mid-West… The hundreds of onlookers in Lincoln smiled, laughed and cheered as the bears followed the commands of their trainers – eventually showing their approval with synchronized clapping at the end of the performance. But away from the smiles lies the sinister reality of a miserable life on the road for the performing animals who are kept in small cages for most of the day… The James Cristy Cole Circus which is behind the event, produces the show for Shriners International, which is using the cruel spectacle of performing bears to raise money for children’s hospitals’. SOURCE…


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