Petition: Bear Tears Off Trainers’ Scalp is Further Proof Why Animals Don’t Belong in Circuses

Keeper is mauled to death by bear after entering the animal’s cage at Russian circus

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A worker was mauled to death by a performing after entering the animal’s cage at a top Russian circus.

Valentin Bulich, 28, locked himself inside the cage with the unnamed beast, according to the world famous Great Moscow State Circus. The seven-year-old bear tore off his scalp, reports said.

The world famous Great Moscow State Circus uses three , like the one seen above with one of the performers, in its shows. Performing bears have a long history in Europe and elsewhere, however performances featuring large, dangerous animals such as bears have been banned in many countries. [File photo]
Bulich suffered multiple severe wounds before colleagues pulled him clear. ‘Circus workers tried to save the victim’s life, but to no avail,’ a statement said.

‘In a critical condition, he was taken to Vinogradov State Clinical Hospital, where he died of his wounds.’

The circus said that Bulich had committed a ‘gross violation of safety rules’ in entering the bear cage on a day off for performers.

His motive for doing so is now under investigation as part of a criminal investigation into his death.

A neighbour said Bulich was hardworking and dedicated to his job as an animal care worker.

‘We know him only from the positive side – he did not drink nor smoke, calm, he was a balanced, kind young man,’ said one neighbour.

Law enforcement believe that ‘for some reason the man deliberately violated all the safety rules,’ reported Moskovsky Komsomolets.

Bulich was described by a neighbour as a ‘balanced, kind young man’ who was hardworking and dedicated to his job. A police investigation is underway as to his motives for entering the animals cage. Law enforcement believe he deliberated violated the safety rules, saying he had locked the cage from the inside [File photo]
‘Valentin locked the cage from the inside. ‘He had no chance to survive – the bear removed his scalp.’

The circus has a troupe of three Russian bears which perform with the Alexandrov family. A decision has been taken not to shoot dead the bear, said the circus.

Recently, campaigners in Russia have expressed concern over a series of incidents involving circus animals.

Irina Novozhilova, of animal rights group VITA, said: ‘No circus conditions will be humane for one simple reason.

‘Training goes hand in hand with cruelty…. ‘Circuses are always cruel beyond limits. ‘And circuses with animals should be banned.’

The cruel history of dancing and performing bears in Europe and Asia

In the Middle Ages, dancing or performing bears were a common form of entertainment in Europe and Asia.

They often featured in travelling circuses or individual performances, with the majority of trainers being Romany people from Eastern Europe.

Performing bears remained a common sight in Eastern Europe and parts of Asia well into the twentieth century, despite incremental efforts to introduce bans.

The bears were captured as cubs from the Himalayas, the Middle East and the jungles of the Indian sub-continent then trained to dance and perform tricks.

Often the cub’s mother would be killed in the process of capturing the young bear. This practice continues in Siberia to this day.

A bear entertains British soldiers in Southern Russia during the country’s 1917-1922 civil war

The process of preparing the bear for training often involved inflicting great pain on the animal through removing its teeth, cutting its claws and inserting a metal ring into its nose.

During training, a rope attached to the nose ring would be yanked painfully and sometimes sticks and whips were also used to coax the bear into performing.

To create the illusion of dancing, the trainer would play music while the bear stood on a hot metal platform lifting one paw after another to avoid being burned. Subsequently, whenever the bear heard the same music, it would begin to ‘dance’.

A number of organisations are working to have performances featuring bears banned and to place the animals in sanctuaries, however the practice continues in some countries and even once rescued, bears often suffer from mental and physical ailments that result in an early death.

Sources:, : True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life Under Tyranny – Witold Szablowski.

This article was first published by The Mail Online on 6 October 2020. Lead Image: Trainer Valentin Bulich, 28, was killed by a bear at the Great Moscow State Circus after he entered the animal’s cage for an unknown reason. The circus said that Bulich had committed a ‘gross violation of safety rules’ by entering the cage [File photo].

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Irene Leggett
Irene Leggett

Don’t expect any sympathy or tears from me as this ‘brain-dead, stupid person’ DELIBERATELY chose to lock himself INSIDE the bear’s cage, so what else did he expect???? And as for the circus deciding NOT to shoot the bear, perhaps they ought to send ALL the animals to rescue sanctuaries instead of forcing them to perform mindless, pathetic tricks created through animal abuse, animal torture and animal torment. Its time to BAN ALL ANIMALS from circuses……

Seanna Clevenger

sad…but wild animals shouldnt be kept in cages

Janice Fleming

So sad

Joyce Dixon Dannheim

This is exactly why humans should never interact with a wild animal. Sorry to hear about the keeper but a mistake was obviously made

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

The circus is in town, what do you see?
As I look out at you, and you look in at me
Do you see me as a large, roaring captive toy,
Or do you look into my eyes, just know pain, no joy.
Do you giggle and point as you mill around my cage,
In my terror annoint as I seethe in rage.
Do you not understand that my roar is a shout:

Open up the door and let me out!!!

Janet Kenedy

Well said Karen Lyons Kalmenson!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

No animals should be in circuses.

Maya Ramaswamy

that’s so sad for the young man..
but really why are we humans still running and watching circuses?? grotesque torture of sentient beings solely for human entertainment. so crude and un evolved!

M Leybra
M Leybra

“A decision has been taken not to shoot dead the bear, said the circus.” Okay, so what is the bear’s alternative fate at the circus’ whim? And if Bulich locked the cage from the inside, maybe he was intentionally suicidal.