There are about 7,000 bears on bear-bile farms in China. The captive animals are used to supply the voracious Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) market. Bear bile has been an ingredient in TCM for thousands of years, but intensive bear farming only came into existence in the 1980s when China's supply of wild bears began running low.
Usually bile is extracted from the bears' gallbladders twice, or 3 or 3 times a day through a surgically implanted tube. The process, called "milking," produces from .338 to .676 oz. (10–20 ml.) of bile each time. Milking is clearly painful for the bears, who are often seen moaning and chewing their paws during the process.
Sometimes the farmers just push a hollow steel stick through a bear's abdomen, and the bile runs into a basin under the cage. Surgery to insert the tube or stick is seldom performed by veterinarians (very few bear farms employ them). Roughly half of the bears die from infections or other complications.
This Group has been created to raise awareness about Bear Bile Farming and to promote and support the different campaigns around the world fighting this abuse until there are not yet bears farms.