Bears rescued from 'hellish' Chinese bile farm
Bears that have suffered years of cruelty and ill-treatment on Chinese bile farms have been rescued.
The 28 Moon bears were in a pitiful condition when they were brought to a rescue centre in Chengdu, Sichuan Province.
Workers from the Animals Asia Foundation (AAF) tragically found one male bear dead when it arrived, its body still warm.
Another had to be put down and another died of its injuries within hours of arrival.
AAF founder and CEO, Jill Robinson who has worked for 10 years in Asia rescuing bears and trying to put an end to the farms, said she was shocked by the condition of the animals.
"All were in impossibly small cages, all skeletal, wounded in various ways, and terrified of what would happen in this next stage of their lives," she said.
"Some are blind, some have shattered teeth and grotesquely ulcerated gums, some have shocking necrotic wounds - their flesh literally rotting down to the bones - and all out of their minds with fear.
"Most had open wounds in their abdomens from the free-drip method of bile-extraction, with some leaking bile, blood and pus."
Bear bile, like rhino horn and tiger parts, is highly prized for use in Chinese traditional medicines. A chinese rural farmer with an income of just over £1 per week can sell a kilo of bear bile for £150.
Although synthetic alternatives to the bile are now widely available the illicit trade continues to flourish condemning bears caught in traps in the wild to unimaginable horrors. Often the animals caught in steel traps lose paws and then injure themselves further because of the appalling and cramped conditions in tiny cages.
Asiatic black bears, known as Moon Bears because of the golden crescents on their chests, can end up spending up to 25 years in coffin-sized cages where they are 'milked' daily for their bile, often through crude and filthy catheters causing the animals intense pain.
The bears are also milked through permanently open holes in their abdomens in what is claimed to be a more humane free-dripping technique. It is the only permitted method of bile extraction in China, but still causes constant pain and the slow death of the bears.
…the latest batch of tormented and disfigured bears provided further proof that the trade is as brutal as ever. Although the trade in bear products is illegal in China there is a flourishing black market.
The demand for bear bile is greatest in China, Japan and Korea but bear parts, bile powder and bile products are also found in Australia, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, the US and Canada.
The bile is still used in traditional medicine for a range of complaints including fever, liver disease and sore eyes.
Two years ago, the EU launched a campaign to urge the Chinese government to end bear farming by 2008.
It is though there are more than 7,000 bears are still trapped in farms throughout China.
Full article here (warning – distressing photographs):