译者: 爱尔兰都柏林大学 赖小琪
Black bears’ intelligence is similar to that of a three-year-old child. They are higher mammals featured with advance body, organs and nervous systems, very physiologically close to human beings. We can feel pain, so can they; we can feel anxious, so can they; we can feel tough, so can they. There is nothing different between black bears and human beings physiologically. But do you dare to pierce a hole on the body of a three-year-old child and extracted bile from him day by day until he dies with dreadful pain?
Asian black bears are dispersed from Iran to Japan to the whole Southeast Asia, ranking one of eight species of bears around the world. They have gentle temperament and due to a crescent shape of golden hair on the chest, they are also called moon bears.
In 1983, North Korea invited the technology to extract gallbladder from a live bear and the bear farming industry started ever since. Prior to this, the only way to get bear gallbladder was to paunch the bear and get the gallbladder, resulting in the loss of bear lives. Of all the countries respectful for Chinese medicine, only China legally allows the existence of live bear bile.
Currently, there are only 25,000 wild black bears remaining around the world. In China, there are approximately 16,000 living in Northeast China, Sichuan Province and Yunan Province. At least 7,000 to 10,000 black bears are raised in captivity. They are called “Bear Bile”
The technology of live bear bile is such a torture: it will not kill the bear, but will render him a pain in the living death. Workers use a 10cm to 20 cm catheter made of metal or rubber to pierce through abdominal wall into the gallbladder, making the bile streaming through the catheter into the container. It would be imposed on the bear twice a day. In order to increase the outflow of bile, workers in the bear field will draw bile from bears with a special needle. It causes such a tremendous pain that the screaming bears will scratch themselves bloodily even pull out the internal organs.
In order to prevent the wound healing, workers will stimulate it now and again. They also put a 10-kilogram iron vest on the bears to prevent them from tearing away the catheters.
In 1996, the Ministry of Forestry issued the use of non-tube drainage, which abandoned the use of metal catheter and iron vest and adopted casings to cut open the bear abdomen through its gallbladder for bile drainage.
However, the pain has not decreased the least for black bears. The non-tube drainage will leave a long-term open wound on the bear’s abdomen, which is easily infected. The ongoing outflow of bile will cause the bear body to fester. Worse still, the instruments inaccurately piercing into the gallbladder will stab into the abdomen and cause liver rupture. Almost all the “bile bears” have mental problems and shake their heads nonstop and can hardly control themselves.
As bile has to be taken from black bears twice a day, one in the morning and the other in the evening, if they are raised in the open air, it will lower the efficiency. Therefore, most raisers will keep them in the narrow iron cages for a long time, from the third year of their age, when their bile began being drawn, until their death. The whole time period ranges from 15 to 20 years. Because of the awfully poor living conditions, black bears will be infected with various diseases, suffering in the piercing pain until death.
Bear bile can be made into bear powder, bear bile eye drops, bear bile hemorrhoids ointments, etc. Even now the bamboo salt toothpaste and royal bear bile face cream contain bear bile. A mature bear field will run a whole industrial chain management. Next to bear field is a wine cellar well equipped with machinery, making bear bile wine that can contain bear bile or bear bile powder. Bear bile can also be added to some sugar water that will be made into healthy oral solution.
Bear bile is so precious, but what are bears eating every day? Corn is their staple food. A big bear dines twice a day, eating a basin of corn paste. In Northeast China, the roads and yards are all covered by corn drying in the sun. The total cost for raising a bear per month is no more than 20 yuan. More surprisingly, the functions of bear bile have been artificially inflated. Presently, there are at least 54 herbal medicines that have similar functions to bear bile, including Ivy League , dandelion, chrysanthemum, rhubarb, etc., there is no such a disease in the world that only needs bear bile to cure.
In present, the Animal Asia Foundation, by taking the form of giving compensations to bear field, destroyed licenses of 35 small bear fields, trying to save as many bears as possible among the 7000 raised bears. In the rescue center, bears are learning how to walk and how to climb, slowly returning to their normal life. According to the workers’ observation, normally 15 to 20 bears will from a relatively stable group and with time passing by, they will be in two or three intimately, eating and playing together. When the weather becomes cold, they will also hug each other to sleep. Don’t you feel acquainted with all these?