By Richard Yu
Animal welfare is an almost completely alien concept in this country, but an estimated 7,600 Asiatic Black Bears live some of the cruelest fates around – they live in squalid conditions and are farmed in China for their gallbladder’s bile, a Chinese medicinal remedy.
One charity group, Animals Asia, is working to close down bear farms all over China, and rehabilitate the bears at their sanctuary in Chengdu.
According to the charity group, these animals are forced into coffin-sized cages for years, these bears are fitted with permanent catheters leading to their abdomen which slowly drip liquid money.
Not surprisingly, these catheters lead to excruciating infections, and their bodies are covered in sores due to botched surgeries and constant contact against rusted iron bars. The bears are purposefully starved due to the fact that hungry bears produce more bile. Meanwhile, their paws are either entirely removed for sale as a delicacy or terribly mangled due to primitive declawing techniques.
Many of the bears develop liver cancer following sustained years of harvesting bile, and it is common for these highly intelligent creatures to develop intense psychological issues.
“One bear we rescued, you could tell he was captured from the wild because he had these terrible scars on one of his hind legs; where he’d been snared by a farmer’s trap. After we rescued him all he wanted to do was gnaw off the leg that he’d been trapped by. We had to put him down” said Boris Chow, a Projects Director at Animals Asia.
So far, the group has closed down 41 farms and rescued 284 bears. If you’re interested in learning more about bear farming and lending your support, visit Animal Asia’s website. While there, you can even adopt a bear!