Good news for the pair of Russian bears living in Sochi, outside a popular restaurant, who suffered with alcoholism for 20 years.  An animal rehab center in Romania has offered to take care of the two male bears, after they were freed from their owner’s cage last month.  The owner claimed “Beer is good for them because they live in such a cold climate.”  This sounds like something somebody’s drunken uncle would say at a dinner party.  An ignorant and heartless defense, to say the least.

How did these bears become alcoholics, you say?  Well, apparently the types of patrons that this restaurant served were also ignorant and thought that giving the bears buckets of booze for entertainment was what they were there for, and thus became their lives for 20 years.  Another consequence the bears have suffered is permanent blindness from the constant bombardment of headlights being shined on them, as people laughed at the bears’ drunken behavior.

Bear cubs are often orphaned by state-sanction hunts every year.  The cubs are then adopted with little or no standards enforced, which is why this restaurant owner was able to keep two grown bears locked in cages their entire lives.  And it’s not just bears, we all heard the stories leading up to the Sochi Olympics about the government allowing the execution of thousands of stray dogs via euthanasia and eating poison baits that were left out.

Now it’s up to the kindness of others to try and get these bears out of Russia and into the sanctuary in Romania.  It is quite an expensive and involved process, but there are already charities and animal rights groups helping with the move.

Easier said than done, unfortunately, as these bears cannot simple be loaded onto a train and sent directly to bear rehab.  The laws on animal protection are barebones, so organizers like the Big Hearts Foundation are kept from doing their jobs, unless pressure is put on the Russian government by fellow animal right’s activists.