The Last 20 Years Of Your Life
Take a moment to sit back, put your feet up and really think about the last 20 years of your life. If you are 50 years old – think back to your 30 year old self. Perhaps you were finishing up an advanced education degree. Maybe you were engaged or already married. Maybe you had children or were planning to start a family. Think about all the holiday celebrations you’ve enjoyed – birthdays – welcoming the new year – buying your first home or cottage – international travel – your kids turning 10 years old – a crisis with a parent – losing a job you valued and then finding a new career path – your kids becoming young adults and leaving home to lead their own lives. Maybe you had the challenge of an illness. Perhaps you survived a painful divorce and then found new love. A lot can happen in 20 years. Really think about what 20 years means!
NOTE: Some Pictures or Content May be Graphic or Disturbing To Younger or Sensitive Readers
Now – imagine that during that 20 years you were confined in a metal bar cage the size of your own body. You were entombed – and you couldn’t stand up – sit up – turn around – scratch your feet or stretch. There was never a fresh breeze blowing across your body or sunlight on your face. There was only pain – confinement – filth – hunger – thirst – raw desperation – mind numbing monotony – the stench of fear – self-mutilation and perhaps finally – some blessed relief in madness.
Can you even begin to comprehend the life of a bear trapped in a crush cage on an Asian Bear Bile Farm? Evil exists and it is experienced by the estimated 14,000 Asiatic Black Bears (also known as Moon Bears) who exist in these barbaric (but legal) hell holes in China – Korea – Laos and Vietnam. Bears have no rights or protection – they are a cash crop – a product. In 2006 the Chinese Government announced that it would be introducing “The Code Of Practice For Raising Black Bears” – by 2007 there was no sign that it was being enforced.
These bears do not have the majesty of a lion or tiger – the cute factor of a Koala or the iconic status of an elephant. They are locked away and forgotten and their plight doesn’t attract a high degree of attention from the public and the media. Their suffering is barbaric and the abuse that they endure is so far outside the bounds of any intelligent understanding that it is obscene. These vile farms are a stain on the fabric of humankind and yet they exist and flourish.
Most Bears Are So Abused and Traumatized That They Die In 5 To 15 Years
But Some Have Endured This Appalling Suffering For 20 To 30 Years ….
Day After Day – After Mind Numbing Day …
Asian cultures claim that the bile is needed as part of their tradition of medicine – it is part of their hallowed culture – a necessity and a way of life. Their beliefs must be preserved and respected. This is absolute rubbish and their cultural beliefs are WRONG. For countries that claim HONOUR as part of their heritage – they are sorely lacking in both honour and morality.
This Is How A Bear Should Spend His life
I first heard about bear bile farms in 1999 when there was a great global public outcry. It’s 2013 – what does that tell us? For these bears – our silence is diabolical. Historically – the usual way to secure “bear bile” was to kill a bear in his wild habitat and then cut out his gall bladder. Then the idea arose (initially in North Korea) – why not capture and farm these bears and then “milk” them for their bile over and over untill they are of no further use. The 1980’s saw these farms pop up all over Asia.
A bear was crammed into a small “crush cage” (so he couldn’t resist) – then a metal catheter was jabbed into his abdomen to drain the bile – (there was/is never any pain management). These catheters caused infection, raw gaping sores and intense pain. The metal catheter was suppposedly “banned” but many are still in use. Bears would manage to tear them out, so on some farms, a steel plate or thick fabric shield was strapped around the bear to prevent it from removing the catheter. The shield is routinely removed to milk the bear and then replaced – as you can see in this horrific picture below.
Most bears are milked 2 or 3 times a day. In under-cover videos, bears can be seen moaning and screaming in pain and chewing on their feet to find some sense of relief. The use of rusted, metal catheters caused a backlash when animal advocates complained – so the “free drip” method of milking was introduced and regarded as “more humane”. In this process a permanent fistula (hole) was made in the bear’s stomach and gall bladder and a tube inserted to allow the bile to drip freely into a collection container. As you can imagine these wounds are eaily infected and often cause bile back flow into the bear’s abdomen causing death. But so what – it’s just a bear – they will go and trap another one. These bears are a commodity – a money maker – nothing more. There is never one moment of kindness shown to these beautiful animals.
So why is bear bile necessary? It contains (UDCA) ursodeoxycholic acid and this is believed to be necessary for traditional Asian medicine. This magic cure all will supposedly do the following: treat liver, stomach and bowel ailments – cure sore eyes – treat heart problems – reduce fever – act as an anti-inflamatory – break down gall stones – rejuvenate dead brain cells – cure blood disorders, hemorroids and hangovers … and surprise – surprise, let’s get to the real heart of it – increase sexual stamina!
There are synthetic and herbal alternatives that are easier and cheaper to secure and to produce into potent medicines. They are just as effective – but Asian practitioners claim – “it’s not the real thing – we want our traditons”. And so the confinement and torture continue.
Cage – After Cage – After Sadistic Cage
And what of the bears? Many are poached in the wild – killed for their gall bladders, which can sell for thousands of dollars a piece. They are the lucky ones. Those who are trapped are hauled off to a bile farm – sometimes with maimed and mangled paws from the steel traps used to catch them. They are then crammed into crush cages. Many Asians believe that when a bear is afraid or in pain that his gall bladder will get bigger and hence more potent and useful. They also think that a hungry bear produces a better quality bile.
Confined in these metal bar tombs the bears suffer acute mental distress – muscle atrophy from lack of movement – head banging – malnutrition – fur loss – open sores – infections – self-mutilation – grossly dried out and infected paws – over-grown nails – and worn down teeth from chewing on the bars of their prisons. Ultimately – many go insane. In some farms their teeth and claws are pulled out so they are not a danger to the handlers.
This Is The Prize
The bile is sold as a liquid or dried and made into “medicine”. One bear can produce up to four or five pounds of dried bile over five to six months. When exported to South Korea, Japan or Taiwan – liquid bile can sell for up to $1400.00 an ounce. Do the math – this is a money making enterprise.
When an exhausted or sick bear can no longer produce bile he is hauled out of the cage and killed. Then – in death – he suffers one final indignity when his body is hacked into more “useful” parts. His hide – teeth – claws – testicles – liver – gall bladder – feet and body meat are sold for even more money. Bear paw soup and meat are considered a special delicacy.
Do These Pictures Hurt Your Heart?
Urban Legend Or Not? There is a story of a mother bear who was pregnant when she was caught and confined. She gave birth to a cub who was eventually removed from her and placed in a pen. In an unexpected twist of fate – the latch on her cage was left open and she got out. She went directly to the pen where her cub was confined and killed it. She then ran headlong into a concrete wall and killed herself. Is this true? I don’t know – but if it is – it goes a long way towards demonstrating the raw desperation of a bear forced to exist on a bile farm.
The Dull, Sadness In This Bear’s Eye Says It all …
I know the things that humans do to animals all over the world are horrific – from a barbaric circus to an animal brothel – to a puppy mill and a bull fight – to a whaling ship and a massive seal slaughter – to a leg hold trap – torture – abuse and mass animal sacrifices – to the horrors of factory farming and slaughter houses. These are all dreadful things that cause gross suffering to animals. But there is something so heinous about a crush cage on a bile farm that it is beyond what my mind can imagine. I sometimes think of these animals when I’m going to sleep at night and my heart just aches for them. We quite simply pulverize these beautiful animals. But am I surprised – knowing that as a species – humans murder billions of animals every year – billions!
So do that mental re-cap of the last 20 years of your life and then think about these beautiful bears – deprived of a life in the wild – the earth beneath their paws – testing the subtle scents in the wind – the sun on their faces – their wild instincts highly tuned and sublime and their cubs playing in the grass. Instead – this is their reality – and we humans are responsible for this catalogue of barbaric abuse. The cultures of the offending countries are WRONG and we need to stand up and say so. Hold them accountable and give a strong, unified voice to these Slave Bears Of Asia – that this is enough.
Bear Farming has been banned in Japan and South Korea – so the business has simply gone underground and is thriving. Bear parts are also sold into these offending countries from Russia – Canada – the USA and South America to feed this sick Asian need for traditional medicine.
I don’t like to think of myself as a vengeful person – but I hope as the Wheel of Karma turns – that there are pre-warmed seats in the Seventh Circle of Hell awaiting the men and women who operate these vulgar farms – and the governments who make this crushing misery possible by their apathy, greed, corruption and total lack of commitment to animal rights.
These Photographs Are Haunting
Why Is This Happening In 2013 …
There are many fine people and organizations working towards the eradication of these horrific farms and this dastardly crime against bears. But progress happens at a snail’s pace and attitudes change slowly – if at all. Some sanctuaries have been set up in Vietnam and China – and the bears fortunate enough to be rescued – gradually start to recover in safe, open spaces. Most will never be re-introduced to the wild – they don’t have the necessary skills to exist on their own.
Watch This Short – Very Educational Video From Animals Asia …
And if you are moved to help in any way – please do so!