Setting Free The Bears

Dancing bears don't learn to dance. They're tortured into it. When they are cubs, their "trainers" smash their teeth with hammers to destroy their main defense. Their lips or noses are pierced with a metal loop linked to a chain leash. And their owners then cast them onto burning coal or sheets of hot metal while playing drums or tambourines in the background. Soon the painful Pavlovian method has the brown bears rearing on their hind legs, hopping from one foot to the other, even on flameless ground. Sounds harrowing? For years, the Greeks — hosts to one of Europe's largest...

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