(India & Pakistan) – After having teeth painfully broken, young sloth and black bears have torturous ropes put through a hole burned into the nose and sinus cavity which is used to painfully force them to “dance”; otherwise these normally quiet and shy bears are kept in captivity under harsh, inhumane conditions.
This cruel “entertainment” is supported mainly by tourists who pay to
watch. This is a classic case of why you should NOT give ANY money
whatsoever to anyone who uses animals for any kind of entertainment,
attention or any other tourist attraction*. This important rule is in effect
even if you “feel sorry for the animal” or think you are “helping a hungry
animal” or whatever the reason. Street entertainers may deliberately starve
the animal– whether it be a bear, elephant, monkey or whatever– just to keep
it thin and garner more donations.
Many street people may also wrap a snake around you and ask money for photographs. (I even fell for this in Miami once). The animals are not cared for properly except as moneymakers; no animal should be exposed to that many strangers for many reasons– disease transmission being one.
If you see animals being used cruelly for entertainment, especially like the dancing bears, don’t simply shrug it off as “that’s the way they do things here”…. cruelty is cruelty everywhere.
Complain– loudly! Tell other tourists about the cruelty, and how they shouldn’t support it; once they are educated virtually all visitors will do the right thing. Also, complain to the local tourist board and the mayor’s office; tell them how disgusted you are with the practice and that when you go home, you’ll tell everyone you know not to come back until something is done about it. Loss of revenue is a prime motivator for these people.
[Note: This also includes the many street beggars I saw in my round-the-world trip last year. It seems to be a disturbing new trend-- these people get a young animal (usually a puppy or kitten) and carry it around to help beg for money, which is usually spent on alcohol and cigarettes, while the animals are fed trash. When the animals get older they are simply dumped on the streets (or worse) for a younger, "cuter" one. I saw this take place in even the finest cities in the world, especially in France. They hang out in all the touristy places, so if you go you're almost sure to see them around.]
Who’s fighting it: WSPA, ALF, Wildlife SOS India (Kartick Satyanarayan).
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