12,000 bears are farmed for their bile in Asia which is used in traditional Chinese medicine and generates $2bn per year. Farming always involves surgery on the bears to insert a catheter or to cut a hole through the abdomen by which the bile leaks. Bear bile has no medicinal effect.
Here’s a rescued one getting out of his cage for the first time:
“The vet team has been working hard to rehabilitate him after years of having his bile extracted. In fact his gall bladder was so damaged it had to be removed. Examinations had found numerous gallstones, meaning he’d lived in pain for years. That wasn’t the only surgery Tuffy faced. He also had painful, dry, cracked paws. Animals Asia Bear Manager Louise Ellis said: “The cracked paws are common to bile farm bears as they only walk on bars, not grass. Dehydration is likely to have contributed to this too. So for his carers to see him take to the pool so quickly after he first became ready to face the outdoors was an amazing moment.” In fact Tuffy loved being outdoors so much he decided not to return to his den in the evening – choosing instead to sleep under the stars.”