Bile bears, sometimes called battery bears, are bears kept in captivity to harvest their bile, which is used by some traditional Chinese medicine practitioners. Here's why it's unnecessary and needs to end now. 

These bears belong in the wild

These bears belong in the wild

It’s cruel

Bears are captured from the wild for their bile, which is extracted using cruel, painful procedures and sold as traditional medicine. These captive bears undergo surgery, often by people with no veterinary qualifications, to create a permanent open passage from their gallbladder through their abdomen. They are kept in filthy and cramped conditions, often in cages little bigger than they are, and undergo multiple ‘bile tapping’ sessions per day. Many captive bears will moan and rock due to extreme anxiety, will have broken teeth from biting on the bars of their cages and severely damaged paws from the metal bars they are forced to stand on. Some bears face this cruelty for their whole lives, this can mean up to 30 years of torture.

The public don’t want it to continue

In China, 84% of people surveyed hope to see the bear bile industry banned and over 90% would be willing to be involved in better protecting bears.

It’s unnecessary

The bile of a bear is believed to have medicinal value for humans. It’s used in traditional Chinese medicine, but also in household products and cosmetics like shampoo and toothpaste. It can also be found in some wines and teas. Bear bile is sold in the form of powder, tonic, or pills and is considered to be a cure for acne, hangovers, colds, sore-throats, haemorrhoids, conjunctivitis and even cancer. However, plentiful and inexpensive synthetic and herbal alternatives to bear bile are readily available, making the cruel practice of bear bile farming completely unnecessary.

These bears belong in the wild

These bears, like all animals, deserve to live a happy, healthy life, free from harm and to be allowed to live, and thrive, in their natural environment. Animals are not put on the earth to serve the whims of humans. All life deserves respect, dignity, and compassion, and to treat any animal in the way these bears are treated is cruel and disrespectful. 

There are organisations in place to help the bears

There are many organisations campaigning for the end of the horrific practice of bear bile farming, but they need our support. The global non-profit FOUR PAWS are now looking to close all bear farms by 2020 and ensure the transfer of all remaining bears to sanctuaries. FOUR PAWS have launched a microsite asking “How much can you bear”, which tests the endurance of viewers and urges them to take action and sign the petition. Take the test and sign the petition at

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