As part of our ‘Great Bear Rescue’ campaign, we have launched a petition to rescue three bears locked behind bars at a restaurant in Armenia. The owner uses the three caged bears to attract visitors and tourists to his restaurant – and, in spite of criticism and complaints from local animal lovers, he refuses to surrender them.
The bears are being kept by the Ashtaraki Dzor restaurant, not far from the Armenian capital city of Yerevan. They are kept entirely for show, with no attention given to their mental or physical welfare. The bears have no names or medical records. No one knows how old they are or where they came from.
One recent visitor to the restaurant said: “The bears are caged in the corner of what is essentially a car park. I located them by the smell coming from their filthy cage. No one seems to care about them. The owner should be ashamed of exploiting these poor animals in this way. He should seize the opportunity to do the kind and compassionate thing and give them up.”
Since the restaurant owner is refusing to hand them over willingly, we are appealing to the public to sign a petition urging him to surrender them. It’s hoped that the power of public opinion will persuade him to change his mind.
Undercover footage shows members of the public laughing at the bears. Alan Knight, our Chief Executive, said: “Animal cruelty and neglect is no laughing matter. These bears deserve to be treated with dignity and respect, not as objects of ridicule. And they deserve the freedom to live and behave like bears.
“We’re urging everyone to sign and share the petition urging the restaurant owner to do the right thing and give up the bears. Once we have the go-ahead to rescue them, we can move them to our center where they will be treated with compassion and respect. Our team has a wealth of experience in the rehabilitation of rescued bears and will give them all the treatment and care they need to recover from their miserable years in captivity.”
Take action: sign the petition here.
Featured image: the three bears look out from their cage. Image via International Animal Rescue.