Friday, October 03, 2008

The Moon Bears


Have you ever heard of “bile farms” in China, Korea and Vietnam and of the atrocities practiced on the Moon Bears?
These marvelous animals, once they have been captured with traps that often cause terrible mutilation, are imprisoned and tortured for a practice that is so cruel that it has few comparisons.
They are prisoners in tiny cages, no bigger than their bodies, cages that prevent any type of movement, that deform their bones and atrophy the limbs. About 10,000 bears are “milked” twice a day for the really painful extraction of their bile by means of rudimentary metal catheters inserted into their gall bladder. In ancient times, the bear was killed and its bile was used in traditional Chinese medicines. In the 1970 the bear, considered a protected species because it was becoming extinct, was imprisoned for life giving an infinitely superior production of bile. Today its bile can be completely substituted with herbal alternatives and more economic and more effective synthetic products. The market has an excess supply and to reduce the stocks, the producers also use it for the production of drinks and shampoos!
These creatures go through indescribable suffering. Their limbs become atrophied a bit at a time until they have absolute immobility and with an agony that can last 20 years, they suffer this torture every day, until they die from tumours or chronic infections produced by the catheters that are inserted into their flesh.
Nothing else is done for them: the infections, the psychological suffering, the malformation of the bones caused by the pressure of the bars, the pressure sores, the malnutrition kills them more rapidly. But most of these animals, very resistant, survive this unthinkable torture for decades. Many bears would like to put an end to their atrocious suffering by committing suicide, but they are prevented from doing this, by having their teeth sawn off, by having their claws pulled, leaving them only the possibility to be maddened for life.
The saving of the bears began in 1993 when a courageous English woman called Jill Robinson went to visit one of these places. In 1998, AAF-ANIMALS ASIA FOUNDATION was created to put an end to this cruel practice and1999 saw the opening of a centre for the recovery of bears that have been saved where the AAF staff gives these martyred animals the joy to live once more.
Today there have been more than 280 bears that have been freed. The knowledge of the torture that the Moon Bears have had to undergo is moving. It provokes indignation and nudges consciences. With her association, Jill is today negotiating with the Chinese government to get the maximum result: the definitive closure of every individual bile farm. Jill and AAF can only fight their battles thanks to the donations that come from every part of the world.” Carmen
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