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At present, around 7,000 Asiatic black bears — known as Moon bears because of the distinctive white crescent on their chest — spend most of their lives locked in tiny cages being 'milked' of the bile used in traditional Chinese medicine.
"All were in impossibly small cages, all skeletal, wounded in various ways, and terrified of what would happen in this next stage of their lives…..Some are blind, some have shattered teeth and grotesquely ulcerated gums, some have shocking necrotic wounds — their flesh literally rotting down to the bones — and all out of their minds with fear. Most had open wounds in their abdomens from the free-drip method of bile-extraction, with some leaking bile, blood and pus." Bear bile, like rhino horn and tiger parts, is highly prized for use in Chinese traditional medicines. A Chinese rural farmer with an income of just over £1 per week can sell a kilo of bear bile for £150.
The Telegraph (3rd April 2008)