Suicide bear story likely false - but bile farming is real

09 October 2014

Headlines on a "suicide bear"

The story of a bear on a bile farm that killed its cub and then committed suicide is again being shared on social media.

However, while bear bile farming is horribly real – it's most likely this story is false.

The heart-wrenching tale of a bile farmed bear in China breaking free from its cage, killing its cub, and then committing suicide is once again on the verge of going viral. Searching for the tale via Google already brings up tens of thousands of results.

The story has been periodically appearing for the best part of a decade in Chinese media before crossing over into western media without verification. It has since gone on to appear on blogs as well as instigating petitions and campaigns. Media coverage has further legitimised the story with outlets quoting each other but no original witnesses.

On an almost monthly basis the story comes to the attention of Animals Asia who have never been able to find any evidence of the events happening. On occasions accompanying pictures have even shown Animals Asia staff anesthetising bears, presumably in the mistaken belief that they work on a bear bile farm.

Animals Asia Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

"The story doesn't tally with any bear behaviour we have observed on farms and in our sanctuaries over the last two decades. It's a story which seems to have enduring appeal but, unlike bear bile farming – it's not likely to be true.

"While the sharing of this story has raised awareness of the bear bile industry, it's important we keep campaigning based on fact. The horrendous cruelty of the bear bile industry needs no exaggeration.

"The truth is 10,000 bears remain in tiny cages in China and face daily painful bile extractions. That's what we must focus on."

The suicide bear story recently gained a new lease of life when re-posted on social media outlets this month.

Animals Asia is dedicated to ending bear bile farming. Bears like Jasper (pictured below) have been rescued from bile farms and rehabilitated at our sanctuaries. Jasper now lives happily alongside other rescued bears at our China sanctuary.

Animals Asia has now saved over 500 bears in China and Vietnam including, most recently, turning a bear bile farm in Nanning into a sanctuary as part of the Peace by Piece project.

More information on our End Bear Bile Farming programme here.

Jasper caged on a farm

Jasper at our Chengdu sanctuary