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Russian football team criticised for using bear to present referee with the match ball

Peta say the pre-match entertainment was ‘inhumane and utterly out of touch’.

Tim hands over the football to the referee.
Tim hands over the football to the referee.
Image: YouTube

Updated Apr 17th 2018, 5:00 PM

AN ANIMAL WELFARE group has criticised the use of a bear to hand the football over to the referee at the start of a Russian third division game.

The bear, named Tim, normally works in the circus and was accompanied into the stadium by his handler before the game between Mashuk-KMV and Angusht.

The stunt comes just a week after the Russian Premier League adopted the bear as its official logo.

Source: ESPN UK/YouTube

However, the decision to use Tim in the pre-match ceremony was strongly criticised by  People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).

A spokesperson, 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 unless, as is often the case, the animal’s teeth and claws have been cruelly removed.

Bears are not willing performers, so Russian circuses and other lousy acts take them from their mothers as babies and then ‘train’ them using beatings, electric shocks, cigarette burns, and food deprivation to make them perform belittling, stupid tricks like this, which make no sense to them.

“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.”

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Steve O'Rourke

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