"We are very happy about this achievement which is a milestone for animal welfare in Ukraine. We want to especially thank all those who, through sending their protest to the Ukrainian government, have supported Four Paws and have therefore made this law possible," Heli Dungler wrote in response to the announcement.
Four Paws is very optimistic that the ban of bear baiting will not only ease the confiscation of these animals, but also have a positive effect on the enforcement of other animal welfare laws in Ukraine. As well as the 15 to 20 baiting bears remaining in the country, there are currently still dozens of brown bears in Ukraine being kept in circuses or private zoos or next to restaurants and bars for entertainment purposes.
A true sanctuary
The ban on bear baiting in Ukraine is a crucial milestone for Four Paws and its long-term goal to end the abuse of bears as baiting objects and the illegal private keeping of bears in Ukraine in general.
Once the law forbidding bear baiting is finalized, Four Paws believes that another of the country's animal welfare issues, the illegal breeding of brown bear cubs for profit, will also be solved in the long term. Currently the breeding of brown bears is still big business in Ukraine as the demand for bears for baiting contests and entertainment purposes is high. With the ban of bear baiting and an end to the operation of bear baiting stations, this demand will decrease, making the industry considerably less profitable.
Another important success in this battle was achieved in March, when an agreement concerning the construction of a new bear sanctuary in Ukraine was officially signed by the president of Four Paws, Heli Dungler, and representatives of the Yavoriv region where the sanctuary will be built.
The parties agreed to provide all the necessary resources to establish the bear sanctuary and provided assurances that the financial and technical support would be provided the construction and running of the sanctuary over the next 20 years. The new Four Paws Bear Sanctuary, near the city of Lviv in western Ukraine, aims to offer a species-appropriate home to the remaining 15 to 20 mistreated baiting bears in Ukraine.