Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor

Peace Crane by Hilary Taylor
Picture by Justin Wyatt
To read Hilary's story buy this special book...

This magical story has a touch of the supernatural. When an injured crane is found and nursed, something happens, something magical and inspiring...

Gentle Footprints launched- AS SEEN ON TV

Gentle Footprints was officially launched Fri June 4th at the Hay Festival with guest speaker Virginia McKenna and some of the authors

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Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Virginia McKenna at Hay Launch

Animal Anthology To Raise Funds for Born Free

Bridge House Publishing announce new book coming Spring 2010. For more about Bridge House please see their website.
This book is the annual charity book for Born Free...if you want to get involved with promoting and selling this book- email me!

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Visit the Born Free Website to find out more about their valuable work...

Monday, 19 April 2010

The heartbreaking truth

The population of Moon Bears in the wild has declined steadily, due to loss of habitat and the harvesting of their bile and body parts. Population figures for the wild Moon Bear in China are causing concern - with estimates ranging from 50,000 to as low as 15,000.
Moon Bears are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) as Appendix 1 - the most critical category.

Bear bile has been an ingredient in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years, but intensive bear farming only came into existence in the 1980s when China's supply of wild bears began running low. The farms, however, often house bears in the most appalling conditions, subject to terrible pain, mental distress and painful, usually untreated, infections which often prove fatal. Moon Bears are the species most impacted upon by the trade in bile and gall bladders. It is estimated that more than 7,000 Moon Bears are held in bear farms across China alone, with possibly a similar number again captive across the rest of southern Asia.

There are herbal and synthetic alternatives to bear bile which are 100% equal to bear bile in effectiveness. Additionally, veterinary evidence suggests that bile from farmed bears is often contaminated with pus and other detritus as a result of the conditions in which it is extracted.
Usually bile is extracted from the bears' gallbladders twice a day through a surgically implanted tube. The process, called "milking," produces only 10–20 ml. of bile each time. Milking is clearly painful for the bears, and they are often seen moaning and chewing their paws during the process.
Sometimes the farmers just push a hollow steel stick through a bear's abdomen, and the bile runs into a basin under the cage. Surgery to insert the tube or stick is seldom performed by veterinarians - very few bear farms employ them. Roughly half of the bears die from infections or other complications.

On most bear bile farms, the bears are housed in cages that are so small that these animals are unable to sit up or turn around. The bars crushing their bodies leave deep scars. Often bears have head wounds from banging them against the bars. Many of the bears have broken and worn teeth from biting the bars. Usually claws and large canine teeth are removed – often barbarically – to remove the bear’s defences.

Captive-bred cubs are taken from their mothers at three months. Infant mortality is high. Captive mothers often eat their young, a behaviour attributed to the stress of captivity because it seldom occurs in the wild. Some farms train cubs to perform in circuses until they are about 18 months old. Milking of the gallbladder begins at three years and can continue for as long as the bear produces bile - up to 20 years.

Once their bile productivity has been exhausted, they are often left to starve to death. Some farmers will hack off their paws to sell to a restaurant as a delicacy and the bears are left to die an agonizing death from their injuries.

It's no secret that products from wild bears are sold in China. Gallbladders, once smuggled to Japan and Korea, can fetch several thousand dollars. Although the Chinese government claims that captive breeding is successful, bear farms regularly restock with wild bears caught in vicious leg-hold traps which mutilate the bear’s limbs.

Tomorrow? What is being done for the Moon Bears.


  1. I had no idea about any of this- gruesome as it is thanks Di for telling us about it... makes you wonder about how anyone could ever have thought this was right. I know there are people that will say it's to save human lives- but no human life deserves the loss of so many-and so cruelly- they have to seek alternatives. Shocking stuff.


  2. Reading this moved me to tears. I still can't cope with the ability of some humans to be so cruel. Do they not realise the pain they inflict? I have no words sometimes. I feel so angry that I think the humans doing this should suffer in the same way just for a few hours. Of course I realsie this is not the answer either. This would make me the same as them and I would never want that.