sad bear caged

Royal Canin accused of sponsoring brutal & illegal bear-baiting contests


Yesterday animal welfare organization Four Paws uncovered a scandal involving the international pet food company Royal Canin, owned by global pet food giant Mars PetCare: In recent months the pet food manufacturer has been sponsoring illegal and barbaric blood sport known as bear-baiting.

bear baiting ukraine

The animal welfare group, Four Paws, has obtained video exposing Royal Canin as the official sponsor of dog shows in the Ukraine featuring the world’s most savage blood sports where spectators watch as a chained and clawless bear set upon by trained fighting dogs: Bear-baiting.

Bear baiting Royal Canin sponsored

The heartbreaking video shows a terrified brown bear chained, unable to escape, as two to three dogs are set upon it at approximately 10-minute intervals. During the barbaric competition, which can last up to several hours, the bear’s every movement is controlled by three men pulling on its chain to restrict the bear’s response.

The panicked bear, unable to mount a defense, frantically begins to foam at the mouth. As the dogs are encouraged to attack, the bear will tire and weaken, until it is unable to remain upright. This is when the bear’s face and neck become vulnerable to the dogs’ teeth. They hang from the bear’s mouth and lips as they try to drag it to the ground.


The bear, deprived of food and water for days in preparation for the contest, exhausted from fatigue eventually succumbs to the vicious attacks by the dogs. The culmination of the fight is when trophies, bearing the Royal Canin logo, are awarded to the handlers of “the most aggressive dogs”.

bear baiting ukraine

According to Four Paws, these contests are hosted at least four to six times per year and take place in special training camps for hunting dogs in the Ukraine. The organization added that it has, “evidence that Royal Canin has sponsored several of these gruesome spectacles over recent months”. In Europe alone, Royal Canin sponsors or is active in 3,500 dog shows and 400 cat shows each year.

Royal Canin Trophies

Royal Canin is accused of using such events to promote their brand by handing out free pet food samples, donating trophies, and decorating the event using Royal Canin swag. Yet, despite the evidence that the events were clearly sponsored by the manufacturer, Royal Canin insists that they are not, nor have they ever been, involved in sponsoring bear-baiting activities or events.

Royal_Canin_Pokale Contest Champion
A statement released by Royal Canin’s global corporate affairs director, Hervé MARC, insists that their involvement was limited to the sponsorship of dog shows in the Ukraine where there was “no mention of the demonstration using a bear”, yet, he was quick to add that, “as a result of our investigation, we have decided to immediately pull out of future sponsorship of this event”.

baby bear torn from mother ukraine
The systemic abuse of bears in the Ukraine has a long and sordid history: Bears are often targeted in the Ukraine. Used in bear-baiting activities, young bears, often no more than a few months old, are torn from their mothers at an early age to be used as props in photo shoots with tourists. Its claws and teeth will have been removed – an agonizing mutilation for which anesthetic is rarely used and live cruel lives in tiny cages with nothing but a concrete floor.


Despite laws forbidding barbaric blood sport of bear-baiting, the practice continues. Bear-baiting is illegal and the brown bear is protected by law in the Ukraine, in fact, any activity that causes pain and suffering to a bear in captivity is banned. Yet bears continue to be abused, where they are often withheld from food and water to weaken them for the hunting dogs, and only released from their cages for training or to be attacked by hunting dogs.

Four Paws estimates that there are at least 15 to 20 baiting-bears in Ukraine with most of them heralding from zoos, circuses or the wild.

Four Paws is calling on Royal Canin to take responsibility for their actions by asking supporters to join them in signing a letter to Royal Canin executives demanding an explanation. In a statement released by Four Paws they said, “We find it hypocritical that a pet food producer who claims to put ‘dogs and cats first’ enables this cruel activity, where hunting dogs in training are let loose on a chained up bear, who is left almost defenseless to the onslaught”, adding, “in addition to this barbaric practice, once the onslaught is over, the bears are kept in extremely poor conditions”.

caged bear ukraine

I urge all of you to call on Royal Canin by signing the letter to immediately halt all its sponsorships of these activities and take responsible action by actively supporting Four Paws’ work, which includes rescuing all bears currently abused in Ukraine for bear-baiting and be re-homed in an appropriate environment.

Until such time, I strongly urge you to boycott all Royal Canin and Mars PetCare brand products and advising your friends to do the same by denouncing their support of the inhumane and brutal treatment of bears.



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Mollie Morrissette

Mollie Morrissette, the author of Poisoned Pets, is an animal food safety expert and consumer advisor. Help support her work by making a donation today.

Comments (22) Write a comment

  1. Je ne comprendrais jamais ou est le plaisir de voir des animaux s’entre-tuer. Les humains sont mauvais.


  2. Pingback: Patricia Randolph’s Madravenspeak: Hunters Want to Legalize Entering Private Property without asking Permission to Retrieve Dogs | Wisconsin Wildlife Ethic-Vote Our Wildlife

  3. Pingback: Royal Canin Agrees to Help Bears Abused in Bear-Baiting Events it Sponsored - Poisoned Pets

  4. Pingback: Royal Canin Admits Sponsoring Bear Baiting Events in the Ukraine - Poisoned Pets

  5. These include ensuring reasonable care and welfare of animals, increasing deterrence and stepping up action against wrongdoers, fostering greater responsibility in the industry to ensure animal welfare, as well as fostering greater responsibility amongst pet owners and greater community awareness of animal welfare.


  6. I just wonder, in all that outrage over the supposed sponsoring by Royal Canin that nobody seems to notice the Logo of the FCI on the trophies. How come that the pet food manufacturer has to take the blame solely and nobody – apparently – is looking into the involvement of one of the largest breeding society in the world:

    F.C.I. – Fédération Cynologique International

    I checked their website – no mention of this scandal


    • Oh, I noticed it. There isn’t much that escapes my notice. I chose not to include information about the Federation as my article’s focus was on the pet food manufacturer.

      As it is Sabine, I am lucky if people even bother to read the whole article, so I have to keep them as short as possible (you know, short attention span).

      Dog breeding is reprehensible, when there are millions of pets put to death every year in shelters. That is another topic, one that I feel very strongly about.


  7. Thank you for your post that is almost too painful to read. I have signed the letter, shared with all my friends, and asked them to boycott Mars pet care products, listed above by Peter, as well as their candy, gum, and Uncle Ben’s Rice. Royal Canin has denied involvement, so I am sure that Mars will also lie to cover their evil tracks.


  8. The reality for Star and all abused dogs like her is their owners who are responsible for allowing their dogs to suffer such pain will not be brought to justice. Why? Our animal welfare laws are totally outdated some drafted over 100 years ago. For decades animalwelfare organisations and individuals have petitioned the government to introduce effective legalisation which would like most civilised countries make people accountable for abusing animals and punish them accordingly. We in Ireland are in the backwaters when it comes to animal welfare, the indifference of the political parties to animal suffering is shameful. If you want to help change this please write a short email to and ask him tointroduce this long awaited legalisation. Star and the thousands of other who have no voicedepend on you to speak on their behalf.


  9. Thank you for posting this and increasing awareness of this horrific endorsement of unimaginable animal cruelty.

    I am ashamed to be a member of the human race. There are no words to describe the disgust and embarrassment I feel and I wish I could apologize to the world for the actions of these people. That anyone could dream up such a “contest” is almost beyond comprehension.

    I find the reasoning and excuse provided by Royal Canin executives to be totally unconvincing. A boycott of Mars Petcare brands is the least that any of us could do. I hope readers will send a list to ALL of their friends and permanently cease use of Cesar, Greenies, Nutro Products, Pedigree, Royal Canin, Sheba, & Whiskas


    • Peter, I feel exactly the same way. I am horrified that such a ‘sport’ exists (even though it is illegal) and further, that the events were clearly sponsored by Royal Canin. I agree, RC’s explanation was wholly insufficient and unacceptable. If they were truly sorry, they would take an a position to actively support Four Paws work in the Ukraine. Instead, they have done nothing. They continue to deny involvement, which is extremely difficult to believe. I only wish I spoke Ukrainian so that I could properly translate the wording on their ‘trophies’. I was unsuccessful using Google translate as I found it difficult to identify the letters unique to the language because the photo was quite blurry.


  10. Vinnytsya – Animal welfare organisation Four Paws is charging popular French manufacturer of dog and cat food, Royal Canin, with sponsoring brutal and illegal bear-baiting in the Ukraine.


    • Yes, it is truly shocking. I find it incredible that Royal Canin was not aware that these events did not feature bear-baiting. In fact, I believe they are lying. Never the less, it would be prudent of them to involve themselves in rectifying the horror of those type of events at dog shows by supporting the work of Four Paws in the Ukraine, instead they have taken no action to help the bears in captivity. Shame on them. And thank you for signing the letter!


  11. Are the Ukrainians all psychopaths? This is so cruel and hard to see, as bears are sentient beings, the same as humans. I am boycotting all of Mars Petcare junk petfood: beside Royal Canin is Pedigree and Whiskas, which I never buy anyway, but will tell all my friends. Will also boycott Mars products such as their candy, gum, Uncle Ben’s rice, AND Greenies dog chews.


    • If the Ukrainian’s are psychos, I guess that makes the dip-shits in the US just as bad for pulling the same kind of crap on bears. In fact, it happens in several other parts of the world – sorry to say, sad to report.

      Honestly, I really hate most of the human race. Maybe one day humans will be wiped off the face of the earth and the animals can have what’s left of the shit-hole human’s have made it.


      • except, many species of animals would go extinct without mankind. predominantly all domesticated species. Not only that, but another species will rise and cause mass extinction.



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