ST. PETERSBURG, Russia -- For two years, a 36-year-old bear who performed during the 1980 Moscow Olympics has been kept with other retired circus animals in a rusty old bus parked on the outskirts of St. Petersburg.
Animal rights activists say they receive only minimal care in their cramped and stinking cages.
Katya the bear was a longtime star of the Big St. Petersburg State Circus on Fontanka, where night after night she and another bear delighted children by riding motorcycles around the ring.
During the 1980 Summer Games, the bears were applauded by thousands at a ceremony opening the football competition in St. Petersburg, then called Leningrad. Katya also performed in two movies released in the 1980s.
Since her retirement in 2009, Katya and the painted bus on which she once toured with the circus have not left a parking lot near a busy highway. The aging bear spends the long hours jumping up and down in her cage and trying to crack the rusty metal railings with her chipped and yellowed teeth.
Dozens of other retired circus animals also live in the smelly cages placed inside the bus and a minivan parked nearby.
Some occasionally are taken out to accompany photographers to downtown St. Petersburg to have their pictures taken with children and tourists. Others never get washed or examined by veterinarians, animal rights activists say.
"They can't move normally and start going crazy," Zoya Afanasyeva of the Vita animal rights group said as she stood by Katya's sweltering bus on a hot summer day.
"Apparently they are being taken care of, but not more often than once a day, and this care is perfunctory because the smell here in the parking lot is unbearable," Afanasyeva said.
Klava the bear shares a small cage with Pasha the boar. Birds with atrophied muscles live next to cats that don't meow and stare straight ahead with pus-covered eyes.
Circus director Viktor Savrasov said the animals are cared for and Katya's fate would have been worse if her trainer had agreed to have the bear put to sleep.
"Whatever happened, she did not leave her," he said of retired trainer Natalya Arkhipova, who still visits Katya to feed her.
Animal rights activists have long urged Russia's government to strengthen animal protection laws.
I am writing today to encourage you to relinquish the Olympic Bear Of St. Petersburg Circus and the other circus animals languishing in cages on a bus to sanctuary. These non-human animals have been subjected to enslavement, imprisonment, forced to endure inadequate space, inferior medical treatment and care, lack of companionship, and involuntary training, made to perform tricks and have pictures taken with ignorant audiences. Although you may assert that humane protocols are observed, the visual evidence validates the position that this care is ignored in favor of profit.
As the result of a more attentive and compassionate group, individuals comprising a large global audience concerned with these animals have been respectfully offering medical evidence establishing the debilitating natures to which these animals are exposed. Sadly, however, apparent greed and indifference have resulted in their deteriorating mental and physical states.
I hope you make the compassionate decision to discontinue your imprisonment of them and reject complicity in the unethical industry that profits from their suffering.
Thank you for your attention to this important issue; I hope you extend an ethical and empathetic gesture to release these non-human animals to sanctuary.
NAME | COUNTRY
Всем, к кому это относится
В результате более внимательными и сострадательными группы, лица, состоящий из большого глобальной аудитории, связанные с этими животными были почтительно предлагают медицинское свидетельство установления изнурительных природы, к которым эти животные подвержены. К сожалению, однако, очевидно жадность и равнодушие привели к их ухудшению психического и физического состояния.
Я надеюсь, что вы делаете сострадательный решение о прекращении Вашего заключения из них и отказаться от соучастия в неэтичном промышленности, что прибыль от их страданий.
Спасибо за Ваше внимание к этому важному вопросу, я надеюсь, что вы продлить этических и чуткими жест, чтобы освободить эти не-человека животных святилище.
Russian Federation Embassy and Consulate Locator
The St. Petersburg Times
(please add the links and the video
Russian Animal Rights Organizations:
Animal Defenders International
LONDON, SW1P 4QP, UK.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7630 3340
Fax: +44 (0)20 7828 2179
WSPA International5th Floor 222 Grays Inn Road London WC1X 8HB UK
Phone:+44 (0)20 7239 0500
Fax:+44 (0)20 7239 0653
Smolenskaya Square 3
Fax: +7 495 937 83 86
Very sad. IFAW has several successful bear projects in Russia but, regrettably, we are not working in St. Petersburg, nor are we able to mount a campaign for every deserving animal welfare issue, although we wish we could. We must focus our energies and our resources on the anti-cruelty campaigns available for you to see on our website. That is the way we feel we can do the most good for the animals.
A group that focuses on circus animals around the world is Animal Defenders International: http://www.ad-international.org/adi_world/. You may want to contact them about their work.
We sincerely regret that we cannot be of more assistance.
Report from Vita one of the organisations working to try to improve animal welfare in Russia:
“Situation around the female bear Katya draws a wide response not only in Russia, but worldwide too.
few animals win
and those of us who care
live with chagrin
and those animals
of a world