The Bile Bears of China – please help me raise awareness

This year’s Wild Photos event was, as ever, an inspiration. The most shocking lesson learned came from the power of photojournalism and in my opinion, no one does this better than Britta Jaschinski, whose images of China’s captive performing animals living  in appalling condition’s in zoos and parks were shocking, horrific and sickening.Her portrayal of the bile bears of China gave her a standing ovation.

She documented the practice of farming bears in crush cages (no bigger than a small coffin) for their bile which is used in Chinese medicine in the belief that the spirit of the bear will pass into the human through the consumption of this bile. A metal ‘door’ is strapped to the bear’s stomach and a rudimentary metal pipe is pushed straight into the gall bladder of the bear to harvest the bile. The bears live like this, in incredible pain, unable to move or protest because the ‘door’ has a huge metal spike that lodges itself under the neck of the bear.

Many of the bears have bald patches on their head and arms where they have repeatedly rubbed themselves against the cages in distress. Those bears who can move, do so to eat themselves in response to the pain and distress they feel.

Many of the bears are dwarfed, through the practice of keeping them in cages so small that they stunt growth. Many of the bears have also had their paws and /or claws removed too, as this is a delicacy in China.

There was not a dry eye in the house by the time Britta finished. I still cannot recall the presentation without crying and barely slept a wink last night. This is an horrific practice that many of us are blind too.

The pictures are not easy viewing, and this is not easy reading, but I implore you to look at at a selection of the images  “Made in China” now available on Britta’s website

Her images also document the practice of performing animals in China, where ligers, tigers and lions have had heir claws and teeth removed and are beaten until they learn stupid tricks.

Elephants are beaten until they sit on chairs, stand on their hind legs or do handstands – all tricks that cause unimaginable pain.

Bears and monkeys are forced to ride bikes and tightrope walk. If they perform correctly this is the only time they receive a morsel of food. All other times, they live in cramped cages or horrifically sparse enclosures fed off junk food that visitors throw into the enclose.

It is not often that i am bold enough to directly ask people to share my posts, but I urge you to share this post to help educate people of these horrific practices. I am not sure what else I can do to help stop this. But I want to do something!

Don’t just take my word for it… further information on these horrific practices are also available on;

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