In China and Vietnam, it is estimated that over 12,000 bears are being farmed for their bile, which is commonly used in traditional Eastern medicine. These “bile bears” – most commonly sun, moon, and brown bears – are held in captivity and “milked” for their bile, which is collected through invasive, painful procedures that cause the animals a great deal of suffering.
The bile is said to contain high levels of Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) and is known to be useful in the treatment of liver and gall bladder conditions. It is extracted through various methods, all of which are very painful and cause massive infection, despite the widespread availability of many cruelty free, cost-effective alternatives.
On most chinese bile farms, bears are kept in cages so small and restrictive they are unable to turn around or even stand on all fours. It is not uncommon for bears to enter these cages as cubs and remain there for the rest of their lives. This results in stunted growth or body deformities, as they simply have no room to grow. Despite their obvious breach of animal welfare standards, bile farms continue to exist in several parts of Asia.
Honey Money Days, a campaign run throughout August by Animals Asia, aims to raise awareness towards the plight of endangered moon bears, farmed for their bile in China and Vietnam. Animals Asia are working tirelessly to end this cruel practice and give these bears a second chance. If you’d like to get involved in the fight against bile farming, head to https://www.animalsasia.org/