Animal Welfare Group Plans Largest Rescue Of Chinese Bile Bears
BEIJING, April 15 (Reuters) - An animal welfare group said on Tuesday it will save 130 bears from a bile extraction farm in China, its largest rescue so far, in a bid to end a business that has sparked outrage over animal cruelty amid growing opposition.
Hong Kong-based Animals Asia says as many as 10,000 bears are held in captivity in China and used for bile extraction, often under poor conditions that cause long-term physical and psychological suffering.
The bile, taken repeatedly from incisions in the bears' gall bladders, is used in some Chinese medicines that claim to cure eye and liver ailments.
Animals Asia reached a deal with state-owned Flower World to take over its bear bile farm in the southern Guangxi region's capital Nanning and convert it into a sanctuary for the Asiatic black bears, known as moon bears for a white crescent marking on their chests.
The deal was agreed to after company executives said they were losing money on the venture and acknowledged it was "time for change".
"Particularly in the last two years, there has been a lot of public discussion about the practice of extracting bear bile from live bears. Most people oppose it, so we consider prospects for the bear bile business will be less and less optimistic," Flower World General Manager Yan Shaohong told reporters.