From May 5th, Animals Asia will convert a bear bile farm in Nanning, China, into a sanctuary following a request by the farm to rescue and care for its 130 bears. Mr Yan Shaohong, General Manager of the bear farm, has described the decision as one fuelled by the desire for the company to get out of the increasingly unpopular and ultimately unprofitable industry.
Moonbears, so-called because of their moon-shaped crescent on their chest, imprisoned in tiny cages on horrific bile farms, are commonly starved, dehydrated, and suffer multiple diseases such as malignant tumours that ultimately kill them.
It was 20 years ago when Jill Robinson MBE first walked into a bear bile farm and uncovered one of Asia's darkest secrets. The young animal lover found sweet, Asiatic black bears incarcerated in tiny wire cages with rusting metal catheters implanted in their abdomens through which bile was being extracted for use in traditional medicine.
The thought of an intelligent, sentient Moon Bear being locked in a cage no bigger than itself for 20 years with a dirty, metal catheter crudely inserted in to the gall bladder while bile is endlessly and painfully extracted sounds like a torturous experience beyond the capabilities of any living being. But it happens.