Bear's performance before Russian soccer match condemned by animal-rights group

Did a bear just do a trial run for opening World Cup in Russia?

The match between FC Mashuk-KMV Pyatigorsk and FC Angusht Nazran coincided with the visit of a circus, so the club took advantage to invite the animal onto the pitch.

Forced to stand on its hind legs, the bear passed the ball to the referee before appearing to clap along with the home crowd.

The performance, which comes just a few months before the start of the World Cup in Russian Federation, has been called "inhumane" by animal rights campaigners.

But animal rights campaigners have branded the incident as a shocking example of animal cruelty and exploitation. It's hardly the statement that Russian Federation will have wanted to make just weeks before the start of their biggest tournament ever.

The group director delved deeply by describing the situation, hence giving support for their stance-why they consider the move tormenting for animals.

She said: "The bear is the symbol of Russian Federation, so we hope the country's people will show some compassion and national pride and stop abusing them. Common decency should compel the league to pull this stunt", she added.

It's not actually likely that the bear will be at the World Cup, although according to Four Four Two the stadium announcer did joke that he would be opening the competition.

"Bears are wild animals and as such have very specific and complex needs". He was even muzzled with a black strap as he was seen performing tricks.

On the plus side, the US haven't qualified, so at least those particular tensions are one less thing to worry about.

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