The bear is the symbol of Russia.

Circus bear claps to fans at Russian football game

Video footage showing a bear performing for fans at a Russian football match has been condemned by animal welfare groups.

In a YouTube clip, the bear can be seen handing over a football to the referee, before standing up on his hind legs and clapping.

According to BBC Sport, the away side claims that the bear was going to be used in the opening ceremony of the World Cup in June. But the sport’s governing body, FIFA, has denied these allegations.

Responding to the video footage, Peta director Elisa Allen 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.”

Four Paws director Bria da Cal added: “While some supposedly find this depressing scene ‘entertaining’ there is nothing at all light-hearted about this kind of abuse.

“Being chained up, muzzled and forced to perform unnatural acts in front of large, rowdy crowds of people causes tremendous stress and can have an untold impact on these animals, both psychological and physical.”

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