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Full ban on bear baiting in Ukraine



The Ukrainian government has finally banned the cruel practice of  baiting, following years of campaigning by international animal welfare organisation FOUR PAWS. The country’s governing body has passed a law officially banning the use of bears and wolves as bait objects for the training of hunting dogs. Furthermore, the law forbids the organisation and staging of bear baiting contests, or the running of so called bear baiting stations that keep bears as baiting objects. Bear baiting is a particularly brutal form of animal abuse, which involves a dogs being set on chained brown bears, attacking and biting them. The bear is chained to a tree and will have had its claws removed and is therefore unable to defend itself.


In cooperation with other local NGOs in Ukraine FOUR PAWS has been fighting for the legal ban of bear baiting for years. The decision of the parliament now is a big step in the right direction, but before the law comes into force the President of Ukraine has to sign it first, although this is generally seen as a formality once parliament has come to a decision.

© FOUR PAWS | Maryna Shkvyria

It was a lot of work, but totally worth it

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.


FOUR PAWS is very optimistic that the process for implementing the law will be completed soon, and 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 15-20 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.


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 imminent ban of bear baiting and an end to the operation of bear baiting stations, this demand will decrease, making the industry considerably less profitable.

f.l.t.r.: Orest Petrowitsch Gnyp (chairman Yavoriv/Ukraine), Heli Dungler (founder and president FOUR PAWS) , Josip Romanowitsch Hervas (councillor Domazhir/Ukraine).
© FOUR PAWS | Stefan Knoepfer

Another important success in this battle was achieved last Friday, 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 15-20 mistreated baiting bears in Ukraine.