Costumed bears are forced to dance and perform leap-frogs in front of shocked tourists too frightened to complain at North Korean circusMark Woodman, 42, watched bears in horror on his visit to a Pyongyang circus The bears even jumped over a skipping rope in unison with their trainersNobody dared to leave and some even thought ‘bears’ were humans in costumesCircus has come under fire from animal welfare group which urged a boycott
‘All we could do was watch and absorb it. There’s no complaining or leaving!’
They pranced about the stage along with their trainers to the laughter and applause of some audience members
Photographs from another recent performance show monkeys have been subjected to the cruel treatment also.
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‘Denied the normal, social and mental stimulation they would enjoy with their families in the wild, the compliance of these intelligent, feeling animals is achieved through violence, threats, and withdrawal of food, water and affection during training.
They were trained to remarkably leapfrog their trainers, but animal rights campaigners have said that, to condition the bears to perform these tricks, would inflict suffering on them
‘The public can help end their suffering by avoiding animal shows and letting attractions know why they are taking their custom elsewhere.’
‘Since a trip to the Middle East beginning in 2009 I’ve been hooked on visiting countries that are culturally and religiously distinct from home,’ he said.
‘I’m a gay atheist and focus on travel to countries that “love god and hate gays”. It’s a challenging but endlessly rewarding style of travel that has led me to meet LGBT people and other locals all over the world.
‘It helps to get beneath the stereotypes and narratives driven by the media and/or government, and distinguish people from regimes.’
The bears, which appear to have been muzzled, obediently performed the tricks throughout the show
They often mimicked their North Korean trainers, such as bowing their heads to the floor, after which one of the bears pushed the other one head-over-heels as part of the routine
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