Chinese basketball legend Yao Ming has visited bears rescued from the bear bile industry at Animal Asia’s moon bear sanctuary near Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China. During his visit he spent time at the animal hospital where he saw a bear that had been farmed using the “free drip” extraction method undergoing a health check.
Across Asia, an estimated 14,000 moon bears are being held in captivity on farms and milked for their bile because its believed to be effective in the practice of traditional Asian medicine despite the availability of inexpensive and effective herbal and synthetic alternatives. In China, the bears can spend more than 30 years in tiny cages and are milked regularly for their bile through crude catheters or permanently open holes in their abdomens.
Yao Ming is a retired Chinese professional basketball player who last played for the Houston Rockets in the United States National Basketball Association. As of the 2010–11 NBA season, he was the tallest player in the NBA, at 2.29m (7ft 6in). He is one of China's best-known athletes and is well-loved by the Chinese people.
Yao Ming commented:
"Moon bears are beautiful animals in nature; let's love and care for moon bears together. Support Animals Asia and help the moon bears"
Dr Jill Robinson MBE, Founder and CEO, Animals Asia commented:
“Yao Ming is a lovely guy and it was such an honour to have him visit the bears at our China sanctuary. He made some very thoughtful comments and was really encouraging to the whole team. It was a pleasure to have him visit, and we are very proud that he is a friend to the moon bears.”