Dori Edwards, Global Animal
When Chinese pharmacists claimed that forcing a hole into a bear’s abdomen was as easy as taking water from a tap, an irate animal activist responded: “Why don’t you go and extract bile yourself. Then you can tell us how good you feel.” A species of black bear, also called the Moon Bear for the white, crescent shaped patch on its chest, is quarantined for the so called medicinal effects of its stomach bile. These bears are contained in small cages and left with a permanent hole in their abdomen for the bile to drip out.
A legal practice in China, many animal activists are outraged about the cruel treatment of these endangered animals. Since the beginning of the year, one particular form of activism has been gaining increased notoriety. The “Moon Bear” documentary, created by Chinese journalist Xiong Junhui, received over one million views within 24 hours of its publishing online and was awarded the “Best Educational Value” film at the China Ya’an International Panda, Animals and Nature Film Week in August.
Posed as tourists, Xiong Junhui, and two friends, Chen Yuan Zhong and Tu Qiao, traveled to several of the dozens of bear bile farms throughout China to capture visual proof of the inhumanity. The video shows bears caged in small crates and many had metal contraptions fastened to their body for extraction purposes.
The film has received support from animal activists worldwide who wish to end the torture of over 10,000 captive moon bears. However, Chinese pharmaceutical companies are prepared to fight back. Several bear bile farms allowed press to visit their facilities to demonstrate that they did not practice inhumane treatment by exhibiting bears playing on the grounds. Pharmacists also claimed that forcing a hole into the abdomen is like “piercing people’s ears.” Guizhentang Pharmaceuticals wants to list on the Chinese stock exchange in order to fund the farming for an increased number of bears.
Pharmacists are not the only non-compassionate persons defending the cruel practices. In “Moon Bear,” one grinning farmer is documented stating that “the
bears are making a contribution to mankind.” But according to Dr. Robinson, the bile products, which sell for $21 a gram, could easily be substituted by herbs and synthetic products. How about we contribute to the Moon Bear species, modernize with technology and use alternate products instead of one from a live, tortured, innocent animal.
The bear bile industry is a selfish and archaic practice that needs to end. These bears are harmed for no reason but that of human arrogance. Urge China to progress with the times and sign the petition against this devastating industry.