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Imagine a bear, tethered to a post, set upon by up to four trained fighting dogs. Hundreds of people are watching.
The dogs, which are also at risk of injury, are groomed to be extremely aggressive. Their ferocity is a matter of pride for the owner, who reaps the financial rewards of the baiting, which is illegal in Pakistan.
The crowd knows that the tethered bear is suffering a further handicap. Its claws and teeth will have been removed – an agonising mutilation for which anaesthetic is rarely used.
The ‘contest’ lasts for three rounds. As the dogs are encourgaed to attack, the bear will tire and weaken, until it is unable to remain upright.
This is when the bear’s face and neck become vulnerable to the dogs’ teeth. They hang from the bear’s mouth and lips as they try to drag it to the floor. If they succeed, the dogs ‘win’ the round; if the bear stays on its feet, it has ‘won’.
Bears sustain more injuries than dogs in these savage stand-offs, suffering ripped noses and mouths. The dogs’ jaws, clamped around the bear’s nose, are prized apart using sticks.
Most bears are permanently scarred, but the killing of either animal is avoided – they are too valuable. The bears live on to suffer further at the hands of their owners.
Working with the Pakistani authorities and the Pakistan Biodiversity Research Centre (PBRC), WSPA is halting an increasing number of bear baiting events.
Your donation will fund our work to continue and help WSPA reach our ultimate goal – to stamp out bear baiting for good.