In China and Vietnam, more than 10,000 bears are suffering a horrible existence in establishments known as bile farms. These places regularly — and painfully — extract bile from the animals, which is used as an ingredient in traditional medicinal mixtures. The bile extraction causes severe infections in the bears, who are often kept in cages so small they are unable to turn around or stand. Many are caged as cubs, never knowing a life other than in these cruel circumstances, which persist despite effective medicinal alternatives.
According to Animals Asia, an organization dedicated to ending bile farming,
"Bears may be kept caged like this for up to 30 years. Most farmed bears are starved, dehydrated and suffer from multiple diseases and malignant tumours that ultimately kill them."
Smudge the moon bear cub is a happy exception to the dismal story of bile farming. The cub was rescued from a Nanning, China bile farm by Animals Asia's Peace by Piece initiative. Animals Asia converted the farm that had possession of Smudge and other moon bears into a bear sanctuary and education center. To assist in the effort to end bile farming, visit Animals Asia's website. Via Laughing Squid.