A Teary Mother Bear Killed Her Baby and Committed Suicide – A Heart Breaking True Story
Traps were laid in the wild illegally. When the bear was trapped, she lost not only her paws and four limbs for a good fortune of money, but she was locked up in the cage and had to endure daily torture of bile collection up to 25 or 30 years. This bile collection process requires a hole to be cut in the bear stomach and an iron pipe inserted into the bear gall bladder. Bile was then taken several times a day. The entire procedure was done without anaesthetic in order to save cost. The pain was excruciating. The bear could not bear it and attempted to kill herself by punching her stomach. However, human prevented this suicide act by forcing the bear to wear an iron vest. With this iron vest, her movement was restricted; committing suicide was an impossible task. A mother bear knew it too well. When the bear worker wanted to open up her cub’s stomach, the mother bear broke open the cage and went after the cub. After failing to release the chained cub, she hugged the cub. The mother bear then killed the cub to save it from a life of hell.
A friend asked me for a favour. He needed my assistance to manage a bear farm for a few days. The location was remote and unknown by many.
I reached there at night. It was just before dawn, but I was still not able to sleep. I could hear the wind blow, as if someone was weeping with pain and hopelessness. At that very moment, I heard the sound of the door moving and heavy breathing. I sat up, pulled to a stand and turned on the light. "Who is it?" There was no answer. The silence was terrifying.
I reached out and grabbed a broom. Gently, I walked to the door and with a quick pull, opened it. Ha ! It’s a bear cub curling up her body looking sheepishly as me. I extended my hands and the cub waddled towards me. She rested her small palms on my hands. Then she licked my hand with her warm and soft tongue. It was so heart-warming.
Suddenly, I heard commotion from far. The cub quickly went under my bed.
Then, there was a knock on the door.
I opened the door and asked, “What’s up?”
A man said, “A bear cub just escaped from the bear farm. Has it come to disturb you?”
“Oh, yes, there it is.” I pointed at the cub’s hiding place.
The man squat down and grabbed the cub with one hand. With such roughness, he pulled the bear out and tied her four limbs to a long wooden stick. They lifted the stick and the cub was carried away from the room. As she left, she turned and gave me a begging and pitiful look.
After dawn, the worker on-duty, Zhang took me to see the bears. In a few thousand square meters wide and tall building, six cages were placed in an open space. In every cage, there laid a black and weary bear. What puzzled me was the shining metal around their bodies.
Zhang told me, “This iron vest is used to extract bile from the bear body. Now, the price of this bile is 300 yuan per gram.” He took me to the first cage, gesturing to me, “Let’s start the bile extraction."
I saw two sturdy workers tied up the bear’s body and pulled, through a pulley, a rope that was connected to the iron vest. They shouted, “Hi....!” and I saw the bear’s body contracted as they pulled. Suddenly, the bear gave out a hysterical roar, “Woo....!”. That was not really a roar. It has changed to a desolate and sorrowful cry. Her eyes showed endurance of excruciating pain. With restricted movement and space, she tried to struggle with her four limbs, kicking the ground with, “Ze la, Ze la” sound, which was such a pain to hear. At that very instant, I could hear the dripping sound of liquid coming out from a steel pipe under the bear’s stomach.
The workers then slowly released the rope followed by another long hard pull, as they repeated the extraction procedure. Another hoarse cry was heard. I saw the tears drop from the bear’s eyes. Similar to how a human would response to pain; the bear clenched its teeth and bent its body. It was such a heart-breaking scene! I could not bear to watch any further. I turned and walked away.
At that moment, I suddenly realised, the moaning cry before dawn came from these tragic bears.
Zhang followed me to the door. With trembling voice, I asked him, “Have you lost your humanity? These are living things!”
Zhang dismissed it, “Not that we have any choice. This is how we earn a living.”
Calming down, I asked him with a heavy heart, “How often do you need to extract the bile?”
He replied, “That depends. If the bear has good supply of bile, we will do it once or twice a day. The bear with less bile will be performed once in two days. Generally, a bear can produce 2000g of bile annually for 10 years.”
I trembled. Twice a day for 10 years, these are monstrous numbers! The bear has to go through such deadly torture twice a day, living a life without hope, for 10 years; 7200 times of flesh piercing pain; enduring it day after day, year after year. Even if this happens to the strongest human, he will not be able to sustain it. My heart ached with pain.
I wanted to leave. Zhang said, “In a short while, a surgery will be performed on the cubs. You cannot leave at this critical moment. You are representing Mr. Liu. If you leave and something goes wrong, who is going to bear the responsibility?”
Reluctantly, I followed him back to the bear room. Under his instruction, four sturdy workers brought in a cub and tied it up with chain. The cub looked at everyone with horror. When she saw me, her eyes brightened up. The cub dropped to her knees and begged me. I felt tears in my eyes.
Zhang waved his hands, instructing the workers to start the surgery.
In great despair, the cub lifted her head and cried, “Wooo....” She burst into tears. It was the most sorrowful and soul-touching cry I have ever heard in my life. It was as if knowing the human language, the cub shouted out the word, “Mom....”. Even the workers were startled.
At that very moment, an extra-ordinary shocking scene took place. A bear in a cage let out a loud cry. With her large hands and all her strength, she pushed open the thick iron bar and jumped out of the cage. The workers were terrified and fled away immediately.
Startled, I didn’t move. It was as if my legs had grown lead and I was not able to move an inch. However, the bear ignored my presence. She rushed to the cub. With her large hands, in awkward movement, she frantically tried to release the cub from the chain. Despite her best effort, she failed to release the cub. So, she kissed the cub and nestled her in her arms with a heavy heart. She licked the cub’s tears lovingly, crying, “Hmm ..hmmm....” to soothe the cub. The cub cried out, “Hoooo....”, as if calling her mom, asking her for rescue.
Suddenly, the bear let out a loud cry. With her large hands, she strangled the cub’s neck with all her might. She roared as she strangled until the cub’s body fell to the ground. Then, she released her hands. Looking at her dead child, she whimpered, as if saying, ”My child, I cannot save you, but you are not going to suffer any more. I’m so sorry.”
She bit her own hair. Then, she grabbed the iron vest and pulled it off her body. Together with the vest, the metal pipe flew out of the gallbladder. The fur at her stomach was covered with red blood as it dripped out of her stomach. She let out another cry, as if she has gone hysterical, and went towards the wall. “Bang!”. The wall collapsed.
I was in shock. I could not recall how I left this brutal place.
For a whole day, my mind was preoccupied with these tragic scenes. I asked myself, “Was the mother bear’s move an act of motherly love? I believe so. It was an act of helpless motherly love. At that moment and place, she did not have the ability to help her child to escape from the twenty years of hellish torture. Under such helpless and desperate situation, she can only destroy the beloved child she has created. She then took the same path to follow her child, hoping to accompany her. “
Bear Bile Farming
Bear bile farming is still practised in Asia where the bears are kept in small cages and bile is extracted for traditional medicine. There are a few methods used for bile extraction. The most recent technique is called ‘free dripping’. It involves making a permanent hole or fistula into the bears’ abdomen and gall bladder.
During bile milking, a metal tube will be used to poke through the hole to reach the gall bladder and break the membrane, so that the bile is released. This process is often done without anaesthetic and sterilization.
The wound from the bile extraction was never closed. So, the wound never recovered. After months and years of this physical torture, many of these bears suffer from infections, diseases, tumour, cancer growth and death from peritonitis (inflammation of the peritoneum, the serous membrane, that lines part of the abdominal cavity and viscera).
The bear in the photo above had liver cancer. Prior to rescue, this bear’s paws were chopped off, and bile extraction was performed a few times a day on her.
The iron vest worn by the bear was already in bad shape; it showed countless times of bile extraction have been performed on the bear.
Some people think that the bear’s paw is one of the best delicacies in the world, and it tastes the best when the paw is cut alive. This is truly absurd.
Jill Robinson Needs Support in Bear Rescue Operations
Mother of the China black bear, Asian Animal Protection Association founder Jill Robinson, carved a tattoo of two Chinese character, “月熊” (Moon Bear), on her right shoulder. For years, she has been running around for the black bear rescue operations. She wanted to build a larger rescue centre for the bear, but until now, the fund is not ready.
The photo above showed Jill with the bear she has just rescued. The bear was wearing the suicide-prevention iron-vest.
This bear has been kept in a cage for 22 years. She is not able to turn her body and stand up straight. All she has is pain. No trees, no sunshine, only darkness! No freedom, no ending, only torture!
Black bear suffers excruciating pain during bile extraction. To prevent the bile from spilling everywhere, the bear who wears the iron vest can only stay in a fixed posture in the cage. Only the head can move freely, the rest of the body are tied up and are unmovable. Every bear that has been through bile extraction is as thin as a skeleton. The only movement they can make is to desperately shake their head.
Bears Rescued from Torturous Bile Farm
Excerpt from Wikipedia : Statistics of Bile Bears
Population figures for the Moon bears in China are causing concern, with estimates ranging from 50,000 to as low as 16,000. Some estimates put the total Asia-wide population as low as 25,000.
There are estimated to be 4,000 bile bears in Vietnam, where their bile can sell for 100,000 dong (~ US$6.25) a millilitre (with 37,500 dong a week regarded as the poverty line for an urban resident), and around 9,000 bile bears in China. The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) conducted a study in 1999 and 2000, and estimates that there are 247 bile-bear farms in China, holding 7,002 bears, though the Chinese government has called the figures "pure speculation."
In July 2000, Animals Asia Foundation, a Hong-Kong based charity, signed an agreement with the Chinese government to remove 500 endangered Moon Bears from the worst bile farms in Sichuan province, and work towards ending the practice. Today, the China Bear Rescue has placed 219 previously farmed Moon Bears at a Sanctuary in Chengdu, and is helping to advance the concept of animal welfare in China.
The Chinese consider bear farms a way to reduce the demand on the wild bear population. Officially 7,600 captive bears are farmed in China. According to Chinese officials, 10,000 wild bears would need to be killed each year to produce as much bile. The government sees farming as a reasonable answer to the loss of wild bears from poaching, and at the same time are indifferent to the cruelty issues that concern Western animal rights activists. However, the government's agreement to allow the rescue of 500 bears may represent a softening of this stance.
Bear Bile Consumption Can Cause Liver and Kidney Damage
Vietnam’s top traditional medicine doctor, Doctor Nguyen Xuan Huong, and his equally eminent Chinese counterpart, Professor Liu Zhengcai, have both warned consumers against the bear bile intake, and cited recent medical cases where consumers are suffering from liver and kidney damage.
Traditional Chinese Medicine Do Not Need Bear Bile
Bear bile tasted bitter and is considered cold medicine. It has been used in China’s pharmacopoeia for thousands of years. It is used to remove heat from the body, to treat high fever, liver ailments and sore eyes.
There are many natural alternatives to bear bile for these treatments that are cruelty free. Bear bile can be replaced easily and cheaply by herbs and synthetics. No one will die if they do not consume the body fluid of bears. On the contrary, there are cases published in Vietnam where people were dying of liver and kidney disease after bear bile consumption. For some people who took it for increasing sexual strength, theyare now impotent.
In fact, many Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctors are furious about bear farming. They could not accept how the body fluid of mentally and physically degraded animal can be in harmony with nature, the core belief of traditional medicine of health.
The President of the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Lixin Huang, has actually demanded that the bear farmers stop using traditional medicine as their excuse for farming bears, saying that ‘we don’t need it’.
Jill Robinson ran a “Healing without Harm” campaign and observed thirty Traditional Chinese Medicine shops removing bear bile from their shelves in China. Some of these shop owners even burnt it for public demonstration in the streets. All this was performed in front of the local police who also gave them the big thumbs up.
Bear bile is not a rare and precious traditional Chinese medicine. It can be completely replaced by herbal or synthetic medicine. Please spread this information around, so that people are aware, so that more people will stop buying these bear bile products.
With no demand for bear bile, there is no supply.
Let us save the black bear. Let us all do something about it.
Another Group to End bear Farming
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