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A Publication of
Catholic Concern for Animals


Selections From The Ark Number 206 - Summer 2007

From: The Dancing Bear

Alas! Poor Bruin! How he foots the pole,
And waddles round it with unwieldy steps! …
But we are told all things were made for Man;
And I'll be sworn there's not a fellow here
Who would not swear ’twere hanging blasphemy
To doubt that truth. Therefore as thou wert born,
Bruin, for Man, and Man makes nothing of thee
In any other way – most logically
It follows thou wert born to make him sport;
That that great snout of thine was form'd on purpose
To hold a ring; and that thy fat was given thee
For an approved pomatum! To demur
Were heresy. And politicians say
(Wise men who in the scale of reason give
No foolish feelings weight) that thou art here
Far happier than thy brother bears who roam
O’er trackless snow for food … Besides
’Tis wholesome for thy morals to be brought
From savage climes into a civilized state,
Into the decencies of Christendom.
Bear, bear! It passes in the Parliament
For excellent logic, this!

Robert Southey

Dancing bears– today!
In India and Pakistan over 2,000 Asiatic Black bears and Sloth bears are forced to dance for public entertainment. Young cubs are stolen by poachers, seriously threatening wild bear populations. Many of the cubs die from neglect or dehydration before they are sold for training. All dancing bears have a hole pierced through their lips, nose or palate and a rope or chain forced through. Tugging on the rope produces excruciating pain and the ‘dancing’ is an attempt to escape the agony. Fortunately the World Society for the Protection of Animals, in conjunction with the Wildlife trust of India and the Wildlife Society of Pakistan, is working to stamp out this barbaric practice.

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Return to Number 206 - Summer 2007

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