Do you know what is bile bear farming? According to Wikipedia, bile bear, or battery bear, refers to Asiatic black bears kept in captivity in China and Vietnam to harvest bile, a digestive juice produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. When extracted, the bears’ bile is a valuable commodity for sale as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. The bears are also known as moon bears because of the cream-colored crescent moon shape on their chest. The Asiatic black bear, the one most commonly used on bear farms, is listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union‘s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Animals.
To facilitate the bile milking process, the bears are commonly kept in extraction cages, also known as crush cages, that measure around 2.6 feet x 4.4 feet x 6.5 feet (79 cm x 130 cm x 200 cm) for an animal that weighs between 110 to 260 pounds (50 to 120 kg). While this allows for easier access to the abdomen, it also prevents the bears from being able to stand upright, or in some cases move at all. Living for 10–12 years under such circumstances results in severe mental stress and muscle atrophy. The Chinese media reported an incident in which a mother bear strangled her own cub then killed herself to spare them both from such a life. In two model Chinese bile farms, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reports that the bears are moved to the crush cages for milking, but the rest of the time live in a cage large enough to stand and turn around.
The World Society for the Protection of Animals sent researchers to 11 bile farms. They reported seeing bears moaning, banging their heads against their cages, and chewing their own paws. The mortality rate is very high. Bile bears suffer from a variety of physical problems which include loss of hair, malnutrition, stunted growth, muscle mass loss, and often have their teeth and claws extracted. When the bears stop producing bile after a few years, they are usually killed for their meat, fur, paws and gall bladders. Bear paws are considered a delicacy, and have been seen priced at $250. Watch this 19-min video and you will know it all.
After seeing the video you probably feel like me – my heart is enraged and crying. Imagine the muscle atrophy after so many years, imagine the mental damage. What kind of a human could make a hole in a bear’s body, leave the open wound and then extract the juice over and over again – from an animal that is crying with pain and terror. I’d love to do the same to those people and their beloved ones – and most of all, to the farm owners. This is one of the saddest things in the world. I condemn traditional Chinese medicine involving unimaginable ingredients thousands of animals are killed for – tiger penis, bile, rhinoceros horn, turtle plastron, etc. I used to work in China and saw there no mercy for so many living creatures. It’s so intense I used to cry my eyes out on so many occasions.