Do you know what is bear bile 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 for bear farming 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 in bear farming, is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN’s Red List of Threatened Animals.
Bear Bile Farming Process
To facilitate the bile milking process, the bears commonly live in extraction cages, also popular as crush cages. Those 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). Just take a moment to imagine that.
While this allows for easier access to the abdomen, it also prevents the bears from standing 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. Would you blame her?
In two model Chinese bear bile farming spots, 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 bear farming spots. They reported seeing bears moaning excruciatingly, banging their heads against their cages, and violently chewing their own paws.
The mortality rate is extremely 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, their life no longer matters. Chinese people consider bear paws a delicacy and pay $250 to eat them.
Watch this 19-min video on bear farming to know it all.
After seeing the video you probably feel like me – my heart is 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 and agonizing with pain and terror.
This is one of the saddest things in the world.
I condemn traditional Chinese medicine involving whimsical ingredients that millions of animals are victims to – 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.