Farmers painfully extracting bile from Asiatic bears needs to stop.
The Asiatic bear, also known as the moon bear, is exploited and abused by farmers for its bile. Bile, the digestive fluid found in the gallbladder, is harvested by Chinese farmers and other Southeastern Asian nations that contain the animals under horrid conditions.
The bears are captured and kept in extraction cages, or crush cages. These cages are designed to squeeze the bears to the point where they can barely stand or move. The farmers keep the bears in such small living situations in order to make the bile extraction easier. Oftentimes, farmers drug the bears for extra precaution. The extraction process, which is usually done with a hollow stick, is said to be extremely painful. Bears are pricked two times a day and often moan loudly, bang their heads, and chew their paws which indicate means of enduring pain. On top of this, the bears suffer greatly from malnutrition, hair loss, stunted growth, and loss of teeth and claws.
The bile is sold as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine and is believed that bile can cure certain diseases, such as hemorrhoids and blindness. The bears stop producing bile at around age five to ten and they are then usually killed for their meat, fur, paws, and gallbladders. The paw is a delicacy worth about $250 dollars.
Roughly 14,000 bears are held captive throughout China and Southeast Asia. Bear bile is highly popular in Vietnam, India, Korea, Laos, and Cambodia. The Animals Asia Foundation has taken a stand against this disgusting practice. In June of 2000, the Animals Asia Foundation worked with Chinese officials in order to save the 500 bears in Sichuan province. A month later, they devised a three-step process, each step with a specific goal. The short-term goal was to close the bear bile markets in Sichuan. The mid-term goal was to extend this program to other provinces in China. The long-term goal is to end all practices throughout Asia. They have saved over a hundred bears.
Despite their efforts, the bile market is still huge. They need assistance, which is why we urge China’s Minister of Finance to help stop the exploitation of these bears. We demand that bears be rescued and kept safe in conservation homes where they can heal and continue to live.