We hear a lot about elephants and big cats in the circus, but what about bears? They don’t choose to perform, either, and if you saw how they were treated, you would never go to a circus that uses animals again.

bears in the circus

A PETA Asia observer visited 10 circuses and training facilities in Suzhou, China, and learned that in order to “teach” bear cubs to walk on their hind legs, trainers chained them by their necks and tethered them to a wall. This forces them to remain upright, sometimes for hours on end.


No matter how exhausted or scared they are, the cubs must continue to stand, or they could choke or hang themselves.


Others are tethered by a short rope that’s tied to a hook in the ground, making it impossible for them to move more than a few inches in any direction.

They’re also forced to jump over things, walk upright on their hind legs, and perform other confusing tricks. They cry out during these training exercises.


The abuse witnessed in China doesn’t only happen there — it’s similar to what animals in circuses throughout the world endure.

An eyewitness video filmed during a Tangier Shrine Circus performance in Nebraska shows trainers pulling a bear by a leash while he or she is walking upright.  The bear then urinates in apparent distress when trainers force the frightened animal to walk on his or her front legs on a platform.

PETA has called on the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to investigate the act, known as “Castle’s Bears,” for apparent violations of the federal Animal Welfare Act. We’re also offering to arrange for the transfer of the bears used in the act to a reputable sanctuary.

For circuses all over the world, people take cubs from their mothers and force them to live around humans in an unnatural, stressful environment. When not being trained or forced to perform, bears live in cramped cages and are denied everything that they want and need.

bears circus

In their natural habitat, bears are curious and energetic animals who spend their time exploring and digging for tasty treats. But in circuses, most become severely depressed.


You can help bears used in circuses. Pledge never to go to any circus that uses animals, and encourage your friends and family to stay away, too.

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