Warning: Bear bile NOT endorsed by new heart research
News headlines have falsely claimed that bear bile is an effective treatment for heart conditions, based on misreporting of research from Imperial College London.
Research into the effects of synthetic Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) to treat heart conditions, was published this week. UDCA occurs naturally in bear bile, however only synthetic UDCA should be considered for human use.
These positive findings have resulted in a number of media headlines and articles that appear to advocate the use of bear bile as an effective treatment. The study only considered the effects of synthetic UDCA and despite the misleading headlines, never considered using the natural compound found in bear bile, which is extracted under the most torturous of conditions.
Dr Julia Gorelik, the study's senior author commented:
“Our research has never advocated the use of bear bile - but has been developed using commercially available UDCA from Sigma company. We understand the cruelty inherent in the bear farming industry and have no wish to promote such a practice.”
Across Asia, an estimated 14,000 bears are being kept in tiny cages, starved and dehydrated, and milked for their bile. Many of these endangered species are captured illegally from the wild. Some are drugged, restrained and have their abdomens jabbed with unsterilised four inch needles until their gall bladders are punctured to release the bile. Others are milked through open infected abdominal wounds, or catheters made from latex or rusty metal.
Dr Jill Robinson MBE, Founder and CEO of Animals Asia commented:
“The bile removed from farmed bears is thick and infected, containing blood, pus, urine and faeces and is collected in unsterilised basins. Farmed bears are pumped full of antibiotics and other drugs to keep them alive. Most of them develop massive infections, multiple diseases and malignant tumours that ultimately kill them. They are often kept in tiny cages for up to 30 years — the space is so small that they canít even turn around. Farmed bears succumb to liver cancer in numbers too high to be coincidence.”