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“Peace” – a symbol of shame

It’s been a frantic and heartbreaking day for everyone here on site, but just quickly, more bad news I’m afraid. Two more beautiful bears have died today, one we euthanised to put him out of his agony, the other simply couldn’t hold on any longer – and who could blame him?

I’ll bring you more details as soon as I have a moment, but for now let me share with you this beautiful tribute to “Peace”, the poor bear that was delivered to us dead last night. It was written by our Veterinary Consultant, Dr Kati Loeffler. Where she found the time, I don’t know, because she and the rest of the team have literally been working non-stop. 

Peace, whose skeletal, necrotic paw – literally rotting away – is pictured below, had been left to wither away on the farm with no water and no food, clearly no longer producing bile, so no longer of use. Here are Kati’s words:

Peace was an Asiatic black bear who died on the truck from the bile farm to the AAF sanctuary. He lay crunched into the tiny coffin cage, his emaciated head propped against one end and his right arm flung through the bars as though in a final plea for someone to end his suffering. 

His body was more emaciated than one would believe possible to have still been alive. His eyes were sunken deep into the skull, small and lifeless and jaundiced. The right hind paw was stripped of flesh, revealing the skeleton of toes and the rotten, leathered skin crumpled over the end like a sock trying to come off. Deep gouges into the tissue of his right forepaw suggested that Peace may have tried to chew off his flesh to detract from the agony of his body. 

On opening the abdomen, the veterinary team found the liver abused with cancer, the lining of the gall bladder cobbled and angry with polyps, the bile thick from dehydration and starvation, the tissue jaundiced from liver failure, and bile leaking into the abdominal cavity. This bear had suffered unconscionable agonies. His final plea drowned in the rattle of a diesel truck that did not deliver him in time to know the only succor he may have ever received. 

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