NEW DELHI: The sight of poorly fed and badly treated bears being forced to dance on the streets of India is a thing of the past as a campaign to wipe out the practice has finally borne fruit, activists say.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and India-based Wildlife SOS, which runs sanctuaries for bears, have also declared an end to the practice in the last few months, 40 years after a government ban in 1972.
- Since the 13th century, bears have been forced to dance for the entertainment of humans.
- In India, bear cubs were purchased from poachers for about $22.00
THE PROCESS OF FORCE
- The process of force began by hammering a hot iron rod through a cub’s sensitive snout.
- The bear cub’s teeth and claws were removed
- A threaded rope was inserted through the snout so that the bear can be forced to perform “tricks.”
- Humans forced the bear to the streets and for the price of a few rupees, initiated pain to force the bear to sway and jump
THE SUFFERING OF THE BEARS
- Removed from their mothers as cubs
- Loss of freedom
- Extreme Pain
- Infected Snouts
- Infected and damaged root canals
- Untreated tuberculosis contracted from humans
PROGRESS & ACTION
- The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) and India-based Wildlife SOS, which runs sanctuaries for bears, have also declared an end to the practice in the last few months, 40 years after a government ban in 1972.
- Donation-funded groups, have been influencing exploiters of these innocent, living beings to stop this inhumane practice by providing them with money and incentives to re-train in other professions. One example of many: After six years of moving from place-to-place with three captive bears in tow, one man handed over his bears to Wildlife Trust of India officers, who offered his family financial assistance and helped him and his younger brother learn driving skills.
- “India is changing rapidly and this is an outmoded, inhumane tradition. The ‘trainers’ themselves realise now that it is far easier for them to earn a living doing other jobs,” Menon of WTI
Note: Success in actions taken to end this travesty is opening opportunities for other campaigns, such as the one to rid India of its snake charmers who can still be spotted illegally plying their trade, often with the snakes’ mouths sewn shut.
THE CONTINUING NEED
- Menon of the WTI says that the dancing bear industry was also “a dominant cause behind the disappearance of the sloth bear”, a focus at the bear conference which focused on conservation and welfare.
- In the last three decades, the number of sloth bears, a species native to South Asia, has fallen by at least 30 per cent, according to the IUCN-SSC Bear Specialist Group (BSG). There are now less than 20,000 of them.
- “The widespread poaching of bear cubs and the killing of mother bears clearly affects the population of the species,” ~ Menon (WTI)
Any action taken to protect an innocent, sentient, living being makes a difference.
Every click, share, comment,
tweet, blog post, reblog,
letter written, phone call placed and donation made
Blessings on those who give voice to those who cannot speak for themselves.
~Gerean Pflug, The Animal Spirits
India’s ‘dancing bears’ retire in animal rights victory.
World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA): http://www.wspa-international.org/
Wildlife Trust of India: http://wildlifetrustofindia.org/
Bear Specialist Group (BSG): http://www.bearbiology.com/index.php?id=bsgmain