years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Vet Katrina Warren shows plight of bile farm bears in animated clip
16 March 2010
Celebrity vet, Dr Katrina Warren, appears in a tiny cage in a new animated TV ad to bring attention to the cruel treatment of endangered moon bears on bile farms in China and Vietnam.
Dr Warren appeared in the community service announcement (CSA), which will be distributed across Australia this week, as part of her role as Australian Ambassador for Animals Asia.
Animals Asia’s Australian Director Anne Lloyd-Jones said the CSA combined real footage of Dr Warren with animated bears to soften the reality of a practice that caused such terrible physical and mental suffering to thousands of bears already facing extinction.
Dr Warren, who has been actively involved with Animals Asia since 2005, said: “Most people find animal cruelty deeply disturbing to watch, but they do care and they do want to help, so this unique ad aims to get the message across without showing the shocking reality of bear farming.
“I met Franzi, the moon bear featured in the ad, during my first visit to Animals Asia’s sanctuary in China in 2005. This sweet little bear had stress dwarfism as a result of spending 25 years trapped in a tiny cage – she was only 45kg, when a healthy female moon bear should tip the scales at 120kg or more,” Dr Warren said.
As many as 15,000 bears across Asia are farmed for their bile, which is used in traditional Asian medicine even though cheap herbal and synthetic alternatives are readily available. In China, the bears can spend more than 20 years in coffin-sized cages and are milked regularly for their bile through crude catheters or permanently open holes in their abdomens.
To date, Animals Asia has rescued 266 bears from farms in China and 51 bears in Vietnam. Those that survive, live out their lives at Animals Asia’s sanctuaries.
The CSA was written by Vida Marketing and produced and animated by Halo Pictures. Both companies gave freely of their time to make this distinctive ad.
Director Chris Hauge from Halo explains: "I wanted the audience to reflect on where Franzi had been for so much of her life. We placed Katrina (who thankfully and graciously trusted our team) in a room full of green screen to make this script work by putting her in an imaginary cage similar to Franzi’s. Acting and presenting on TV are 2 completely different skill sets but Katrina pulled it off with style….. it was important we, the audience, see her connection and loss, of Franzi in particular. The animation style I kept as simple as possible in black, white and grey with Franzi’s performance reflecting a before and after story, highlighting bile farming.”