Today, bear farming is considered to be one of the most rampant and the worst form of animal cruelty. The process involved in bear farming causes repeated agony, pain and suffering to bears. The bear farmers will say that it was all for the good: bear farms offer an abundant and renewable supply of bile for medicinal use and at the same time reduces pressure on wild bear populations. They argue that extracting bile from bears in captivity obviates the need to trap and kill wild bears, and thus contributes to their conservation. However, many people are becoming concerned. Does it really contribute to the bear’s overall welfare? I’m afraid not.
Studies reveal that bear farming endangers the survival of bears in the wild. It is thought that by creating additional demand for bear bile products, the practice eggs on farmers to go out and capture more and more bears, and thus increases pressure on wild populations.
Bear Farming in South East Asia – In South East Asia, black bears are being captured and sold to bear farms, and the forceful marketing of bear bile products all over the world has put a price on the head of every living bear. In fact, many bears rescued from bear farms have missing limbs, apparently, lost in snares and traps. This just shows that the bears were captured from the wild and not bred on the farm. So does farming really reduce the number of bears poached from the wild? The answer is no.
Here’s a picture of what happens in bear farms: As of now, there are officially 247 bear farms across China, which houses about 7,002 bears. The bears are housed in steel cages that are only just 0.8m x 1.3m x 2m in size. It is hardly large enough to contain the bear. Thus, the bear can almost not move, sit up, or even just turn around. The floors of these cages are made of iron bars, and thus the bears cannot even stand or lie on firm ground. As a result, the bears suffer from injuries to the head, paws, and back, because of the friction caused by containment.
No Veterinary Training – More often that not, bile extraction is done by people without veterinary training. There is no form of sanitation to the procedure. During the process, the bears are in extreme pain and distress. They moan, bang their heads against the cages and even chew their own paws. Many die during or soon after the process. For every 2 successful fistula implantations, another 2 or 3 bears die due to infections and complications.
Confinement and repeated torture is unnecessary. Putting 7,000 bears through all the torture to get a substance that is obsolete is preposterous. There are about 75 herbal alternatives that can replace the use of bile in medicine and 54 of these are proven to work. They are more affordable and convenient, and they work without ever having to brutally kill poor bears.
You can help stop bear farming. You do not have to be an animal activist or advocate. Become a member of organizations that stops animal cruelty. Your support, generosity and donation will surely help stop this horrible practice and at the same time will also help treat other stray and maltreated working animals.
Online Campaign – You can also campaign online by making petitions to influence policy in China. You can find the names and addresses of Chinese ambassadors on these petition sites. We need your help in putting a stop to this merciless practice.