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).
Animals Asia investigators have revealed two methods of bile extraction in Vietnam. In all cases, the bears are incarcerated in small cages, the physical and mental suffering that they endure is extreme, and the mortality rate is high.
Crude surgery: Bears once underwent major abdominal surgery to remove bile from their gall bladders every three months. The surgery was crude and unhygienic and, according to the Vietnam government, the bears usually suffered four such operations before dying from the infection and pain. We believe this method was phased out in the early 2000s.
Ultrasound: Another method, introduced around 2002, entails the extraction of bile with the assistance of an ultrasound machine, catheter and medicinal pump. The bears are drugged – usually with ketamine – restrained with ropes and (if the operator is unskilled) have their abdomens repeatedly jabbed with four-inch needles until the gall bladder is found. One operator was even witnessed licking the needle between numerous insertions in an attempt to locate the bile. We suspect the process leads to dangerous leakage of bile into the body and a slow and agonising death from peritonitis.
Bile farmers use ultrasound to find the gall bladder, then jab needles into the abdomen.