Contre les ours dansants en Inde.
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Objet : Against dancing bears in India
Honorable Government Officials of India:
Please uphold longstanding Indian law that illegalizes owning or "dancing" a
bear. With roughly 8,000 non-captive sloth bears left in India, the World
Conservation Union classifies this species as "vulnerable". Moreover, theuse
of dancing bears to amuse tourists is an unusually cruel form of
Over 100 cubs are unlawfully snatched from the wild each year. Sloth bears,
some only weeks old, are seized from mothers shot dead before their eyes.
Many succumb to starvation, dehydration, suffocation or shock during long
journeys with Kalandar gypsies who use them to beg for money. An estimated
500 to 600 sloth bears are forced into lives of misery. Wild bears may live
over 20 years; as dancing bears, they die by seven or eight years of age.
As babies, the bears' teeth are filed to render them defenseless. Later
their tender muzzles are pierced with a fire-heated needle to thread a
training rope through mutilated bone, cartilage and nerve membrane. Trainers
drag bears by these ropes to control them and make them perform unnatural
stunts such as balancing upon two legs. The rope grinds against a bear's
open wound, leading to chronic infections. Agitated bears appear to "dance".
In reality, they are frantic to escape the pain.
Over time the bears are so conditioned to "dance" on hot plates, they begin
their weary waltz as soon as they hear familiar music. Most endure lifelong
malnutrition and abuse that can result in blindness, intestinal disorders
and behavioral aberrations such as chronic pacing.
Many tourists will not vacation in countries that condone or ignore such
blatant cruelty. I urge government officials to enforce the Indian Wildlife
Protection Act and subsidize bear sanctuaries for retired dancing bears, all
of whom are too disfigured and tame to survive in the wild.
Please permanently end the dancing bear trade and help Kalandar nomads find
new means of employment.