In traditional Chinese medicine, bear bile is used to cure many ailments. To keep the supply of this ingredient flowing, bears are kept in small “crush cages” so their bile may be harvested, sometimes twice daily. The extraction process is painful, requiring direct access to the live bears’ gallbladders. While there are a few different methods, the current standard is the “free drip” technique in which a permanent hole is made in the bears’ abdomens. The bile freely flows from the gallbladder and is collected daily by puncturing a membrane. Bile often leaks back into the abdomen and the open hole causes painful infections. While this suffering is unreasonable in any situation, it is especially unnecessary because of the creation of recent herbal medicines that mimic the ingredients of bile. These remedies are cheaper, more effective, and more readily available. With this superior alternative, it is time for bear bile farming and use to be outlawed.
Write China’s ambassador to the United States, Zhang Yesui, and ask him to push for new legislation that would end this inhumane practice.
Ambassador Zhang Yesui
Embassy of the People’s Republic of China
3505 International Place NW
Washington, DC 20008