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Visit to bear farms

The plight of the bears on the farms remains unclear, though our General Manager/Government Liaison Toby Zhang has tried every effort to obtain information. We have also offered help through the Sichuan Forestry. The officials were grateful, but insisted that the farms are under control now, and didn’t need our help. Taking matters into his own hands this past weekend, Toby paid an unofficial visit to two farms in Dujiangyan.

It seems that the first farm he visited, “Deer Farm”, was quite robust. The animals are safe, and the area is even being used as a site for the army to set up their tents.

This doesn’t surprise me. Our own bear houses were built to keep strong and intelligent animals safely within our boundaries – and these buildings fared well throughout the quake and aftershocks. What saddens me is that although the bears are “safe” from natural disaster on the farm, they remain in constant physical and mental agony as their bile continues to be drained and used.

The second farm that Toby visited, “Musk Deer Farm” on top of a mountain was seriously damaged. The farmer maintained that they lost 140 bears – but later during the conversation this figure strangely reduced to 15-20 bears that had lost their lives.

I don't think we’ll ever know the truth as the farmer is clearly trying to claim compensation from the Government for this state-run farm. The bears remaining were safe but held in more compact areas and again it is just too horrible to think that in these tragic times they see no compassion and continue to be so badly hurt and exploited.

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