Bear Bile Farming
Black bears, or Moon Bears as they are often called, are both poached in the wild and farmed for their bile. Believers in traditional Chinese medicine think that bear bile promises to treat a wide variety of illnesses and injuries, including liver ailments and headaches. There are alternatives to the bile, but the Chinese medicine industry believes consumers prefer the real thing, which means the bile trade is lucrative.
In these cruel farms, black bears spend their whole lives living in tiny ‘crush’ cages, hardly able to move. This leads to muscle dystrophy. In some farms, between being milked for bile twice a day, bears are moved to slightly bigger cages where they can actually turn around.
Being milked for bile involves tubes being forced in to open wounds in the bears’ abdomens and gall bladders, (or catheters are permanently left in the wounds), to drain their bile out. This is a severely painful process the bears have to endure on a daily basis and they can die in agony due to infection as a result.
Bears understandably suffer terrible mental stress on the farms due to this and their living conditions. They moan, bang their heads against their cages, and chew their own paws. The mortality rate is high.
Farmed bile bears suffer from physical problems such as loss of hair, malnutrition, stunted growth and muscle mass loss. To add to their misery, they are often forced to have their teeth and claws painfully extracted.
Bears stop producing bile after a few years. They are then routinely killed and their meat, fur, paws and gall bladders are sold for large amounts of money.
Having 14,000 black bears suffering on these farms across Asia has not reduced the number being poached in the wild. Bear numbers are still reducing and are at risk of dying out in the wild.
Image: A Black Bear in a typically tiny cage on a bear bile farm. The bear cannot turn around, straighten up, stretch, or even shuffle a few inches backwards and forwards it’s entire life. This cruelty is unthinkable, even without the extreme daily suffering the bear is forced to endure with the catheter that is inserted in to it’s stomach, draining the bile out and leaving the bear vulnerable to deadly infection. Source
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