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130 bears to be rescued in China, the largest number ever

15/04/2014 11:35:30 news/2010_jan/bear_rescue

April 2014: In an unprecedented move that will be the biggest bear rescue in the world a bear bile farm in China is to be converted into a bear sanctuary by Animals Asia who will then care for its 130 bears, after a plea by the farmer for help. In a bear bile farm bears are  kept in captivity to harvest bile, a digestive juice produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Bear bile is used in traditional Chinese medicine with over 10,000 bears believed to be in farms in China suffering daily extractions in tiny cages and horrific conditions.


 From May 5, Animals Asia will take 28 of the sickest bears, 1,200km in a multi-vehicle convoy back to our existing sanctuary in Chengdu for urgent veterinary attention. Then Animals Asia will also take over the care of the bears on the Nanning bear farm and start the two-year process of turning it into a sanctuary.




The move was instigated by Mr Yan Shaohong, General Manager of Flower World, which runs the bear farm as part of a wider state-invested horticultural business.

The initiative has been hailed as historic by Animals Asia CEO and founder Jill Robinson MBE, who sees it as a significant step in our ongoing campaign to end bear bile farming.


“China has long been outraged by this cruel practice and our statistics show 87 percent of Chinese are against bear bile farming. This negotiation is a result of years of growing awareness and increased opposition, with the bear farmer showing the moral integrity to do the right thing." she said. "We believe it can be the start of a wider conversation, with all parties represented, with the aim of finally ending bear bile farming in China. We should never underestimate the importance of rescuing 130 bears, but we believe it can represent so much more than that.”


Mr Yan has described the decision to approach Animals Asia as one fuelled by the desire for the company to get out of the increasingly unpopular and ultimately unprofitable industry. He was also determined that the bears would not be sold onto other farms and continue to suffer cruelty.

He said:


“In the last two years, there has been a lot of discussion about the practice of extracting bear bile.  After several rounds of discussion among the management team of Flower World, we reported the idea of conversion to our superiors and received their approval and support. We decided not to invest further in bear farming – it’s time for change.


“We figured out that selling bears directly to farms could return some of our investment but it wouldn’t be satisfying. Some of the bears here are sick, some had bile extracted previously and some are new-born cubs. If we only transfer those bears into another bear farm, the living condition of them still cannot be guaranteed. We had to find a good placement for those bears –  a trustworthy partner with professional skills.


“We visited the Animals Asia’s China Bear Rescue Centre in Chengdu. The centre provides comfortable shelters and a living area simulating a natural environment for bears, where they can have abundant and delicious food, and clean and spacious dens. The animal welfare level in the centre for bears has confirmed our plan to work with Animals Asia. We believe the future for our bears would be improved by working with Animals Asia.”


The bears at Nanning Bear farm have not had their bile extracted in over two years since Mr Yan decided to end the practice. However many still suffer health problems as a result of earlier extractions as well as issues due to their confinement in small cages, poor diets and lack of veterinary care.


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