AAF China Bear Rescue Project halfway to 500
From ANIMAL PEOPLE, April 2008:
CHENG DU–“Madam Xiong, literally Madam Bear, of the
Sichuan Forestry Department has kept her promise of closing a bear
bile farm before the end of March–and 28 newly rescued bears are
here!” Animals Asia Foundation founder Jill Robinson e-mailed to
supporters at 8:09 p.m. on March 31.
The new arrivals brought the number of ex-bile farm bears
handled by the China Bear Rescue Project since July 2000 to
248–almost halfway to the total of 500 whom Robinson agreed to
accept if the Sichuan government closed the smallest, oldest bear
bile farms in the state. The survivors have become nationally
publicized witnesses against the cruelty of keeping bears in close
confinement to extract bile from their gall bladders. Bear bile is
used for a variety of purposes in traditional Chinese medicine, but
chiefly to relieve fever. About 7,000 bears remain on bile farms.
Few bears received at Chengdu have been in worse shape than
the March 31 group, the Animals Asia Foundation staff soon learned.
“All were in impossibly small cages, skeletal, wounded in various
ways, and terrified,” Robinson said. “Some are blind, some have
shattered teeth and grotesquely ulcerated gums, and some have
shocking necrotic wounds from the free-drip method of
bile-extraction. One of the emaciated bears was dead on arrival,
his body still warm.”
One more bear died and six were euthanized during the next
week, due to advanced liver cancer or gall bladder tumors.
“I would seriously question the quality of the bile and the
health of the population who would take it,” Robinson told Kelly
Chan of the South China Morning Post.