Save the #saddestbears of France!

In France, a considerable number of bears are still being abused for entertainment. In the frame of medieval festivals or circus shows, these animals are being paraded by their owners – the so-called “montreur d’ours” – on a rope or chain several hours per day and are made to perform tricks in front of an audience. Apart from being repeatedly made to jump over hurdles, to balance on balls and to interact with the audience, the bears spend most of their life travelling thousands of kilometres through the country – locked in the dark cargo holds of their owners’ vehicles where they can hardly move. And when they are not traveling or performing, some of these bears are being kept in tiny cages in backyards only – without any possibility to roam, play or even take a bath.

Some of these bears suffer from diseases, and developed behavioral problems already, caused by their horrible treatment and inappropriate captivity. This has to stop! Local animal welfare activists are working tirelessly to put an end of this animal cruelty, and it appears that a political decision in favor of animal welfare will be made very soon.

The French NGOs AVES France and Fondation Brigitte Bardot have been denouncing this cruel practice for many years. Thanks to their ongoing work with the French government they are on the verge of obtaining promising results. In collaboration with them, FOUR PAWS demands an end of the sad “montreur d’ours” tradition and offers to rescue the #saddestbears of France. Please support us and encourage the French Minister of the Ecological and Solidary Transition, Élisabeth Borne, with your signature to introduce a legal ban on bears shows in France and rehome them in a species-appropriate sanctuary. 

Honorable Mrs. Borne, Minister of the Ecological and Solidary Transition,

A considerable number of captive bears are still suffering for people’s entertainment in France. The animals are being made to perform tricks such as jumping through hoops and balancing on balls which is a totally not species-appropriate, natural behavior. But, regardless of the animals’ often bad physical constitution, their owners proclaim in public that these shows fit the animal's natural needs and have an educational purpose.

In reality, these animals are suffering both mentally and physically from these cruel practices, the long-distance travels through the country and the bad keeping conditions that they have to endure when not performing.

As a strong, progressive country and member of the EU, France should set a good example and consequently tackle shortcomings regarding wild animals in captivity and their welfare.

Just recently you have stated that you would make the welfare of captive wildlife one of your priority projects and announced an action plan to be presented this autumn. We support you in this endeavor and encourage you to take a strong decision by introducing a legal ban on bears shows in France and imposing their transfer in a species-appropriate sanctuary.  This would make the rescue of these tortured animals possible, and allow them a better, species-appropriate life in a sanctuary.

Please take a stance and show that France is a country where cruelty towards animals has no legitimate place!


Yours faithfully