Most people are at least familiar with the concept of traditional medicine. In Asia, there may be many different types of herbs and other items that are used for that purpose, including some that are more unusual than most people realize.
This came to light recently when 2 Asiatic black bears were rescued from an illegal Vietnamese bile farm. The bears were living in captivity for as long as 20 years in a basement. The only time they saw any light, it was artificial and it was during the process in which their bile was extracted.
Bear bile is used in some types of Asian traditional medicine, although it was not always collected in such a cruel way. Hunters would extract it after killing a bear in the past, but more recently, invasive procedures are used that can be quite painful for the animal.
The two bears that were rescued by Four Paws International, a male named Xuan and a female, Mo, were kept under a clothing shop in a basement.
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Xuan likely came to be in their possession in 2004 when he was only a cub but they aren’t sure how long Mo was in captivity.
According to a Facebook post by Four Paws International, during the time that they were kept in their dark cages, they were only fed rotten fruit and had no access to fresh air.
The cages were dirty and rusty, and there was no light in the basement. When the bears were rescued, they were sedated and then taken to a sanctuary for bears that were rescued from similar farms.
Because of the probing used to extract the bile, both bears suffered from gallbladder disease. Xuan was missing a number of teeth, probably from chewing on the bars of the cage and he struggled with liver disease.
Although it is illegal for bile to be extracted in this way in Vietnam, it is still legal in China. Overall, it is thought that some 1000 bears are used for this purpose illegally in Vietnam and 10,000 are kept captive in China.
Watch them enjoy some fresh food for the first time in the video below:
There are about 40 bears at the sanctuary that were rescued from other bile farms. Hopefully they can forget their painful past and enjoy the rest of their years in peace.
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