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Bear baiting is a terribly cruel and inhumane blood sport that for the most part still persists in the Punjab and Sindh regions of northern Pakistan. Even though it has been illegal in Pakistan since 1890 --through the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act -- routine bear baiting events are still being held in the name of public entertainment. It is especially prevalent in the rural tribal regions.
At a typical bear baiting event, a bear is tethered to a post in the middle of a stadium. The rope or chain is between 2 to 5 meters long. The bear's claws have been blunted, his/her canine teeth removed and a nose ring inserted. At least two dogs are then let loose to attack the tethered bear. The dogs are removed when the bear submits; this is seen when the bear rolls on the ground to avoid further attack by the dogs. The bear is forced to do this up to as much as seven times per day.
The average life expectancy of a wild bear is 20 years. Bears used for bear baiting have significantly shortened lives, 5 to 7 years at best.
Economics, Not Religion
It is important to understand bear baiting is NOT condoned by Islam. The Quran forbids inciting animals to fight each other. It's the economics of it that allows bear baiting to continue in Pakistan.
Gypsies either purchase or poach bears from the wild and train them to perform. Historically, dancing bears were the trademark of Gypsies. Once bear baiting was introduced into Pakistan by the British colonizers in the mid 1800s, the captive bears were rented out to the landlords at village fairs and other events. The landlords charge admitting fees for those men and boys who attend the fights.
Let's work together to end the practice of bear baiting in Pakistan. The law is not enforced because the agency cited to enforce the law no longer exists.
Please make stronger punishments for bear baiting in Pakistan as a deterrent and encourage organizations like WSPA and BRC of Pakistan to continue public and religious awareness and education to Pakistani citizens.