Monday, July 6, 2009

Leaving...

Leaving those gorgeous bears was very sad. In just three days, life at Animals Asia Foundation Sanctuary felt like ‘home’. Since flying out of Chengdu, the bears have been constantly on my mind. Some of the photos I saw at the Sanctuary’s Education Centre will haunt me for a long time to come.


Bear incage at a bear bile farm

Seeing all the bears at the sanctuary so well looked after, and in many cases, so content, was delightful and incredibly uplifting. But there are thousands of bears still rotting in cages. Crushed to the ground, unable to move, and tortured daily. It is a life-time sentence unless they can be rescued. Around half China’s moon bear population (10,000) is in bear bile farms.


Cages are stacked closely together at a bear bile farm

Asiatic black bears, known as moon bears because of the beautiful golden crescent on their chests, have been killed for their bile for use in traditional medicine for thousands of years. In the 1980s, it was realised that far more money could be made by caging the bears and ‘milking’ them for their bile. Without any anaesthetic, a steel tube is driven through their stomach into the gall bladder. These bears have no access to water and are deliberately denied adequate food – a hungry bear produces more bile. The bile extraction process causes the bears unimaginable agony.



Limbs are often ripped off in the trapping of bears for bear bile farms

Some farmers slice off the bear's digits to save de-clawing

Bear bile is believed to be good for the liver, muscle spasms, improving vision and clearing toxins. But in reality bear bile is contaminated with pus, blood, tissue and faeces. It is no coincidence that half the bears rescued die from liver cancer. The bears’ livers and gall bladders are often severely diseased.

And this is what people are taking for good health?

AAF is continuing its research to confirm the link between contaminated bile and liver cancer. If this can be proven and it is finally an indisputable fact that taking bear bile will actually endanger your health, then perhaps finally, the proponents of this ‘traditional practice’’ will give it up.

Animals Asia Foundation, depends solely on donations and, like all charitable organisations during these times, is struggling to get sufficient funds to meet its needs. A special care enclosure is being built and more land needs to be cleared for new enclosures so more bears can be rescued. Jill hopes to receive another ‘shipment’ of bears towards the end of this year and needs to have these areas up and running. Each ‘shipment’ represents one more bear bile farm that has been shut down. It is a long, delicate process of negotiation with the Government and with the bear bile farmer. AAF has to compensate the farmer for the loss of his income so they can continue to feed their families but in return for payment, the farmer must shut down the farm, give up all bears and surrender their licence, resulting in permanent closure.

What can you do to help?

This obscenity has to be stopped.

Assisi is luckier than many. He is a relatively young bear – around five years of age. He has suffered hugely in his short life, but his suffering has now ended. He has got a lifetime of freedom to look forward to – however long that is. His days in the sun are coming thanks to all the people who have generously given to the NZ Companion Animal Council / Animals' Voice magazine / SPCA campaign.

Assisi also has to thank one bear for his survival. That one, un-named bear reached out to Jill – literally – back in 1993 and asked for help. It is thanks to that bear, that more than 280 bears have been rescued from hell. It is because of that one bear that many more will see freedom. That anonymous bear never did.


A bear reaching out to Jill for help in 1993

As I sign-off on three unbelievable days of my life I want to thank Jill Robinson, Rainbow, Sailing, Charlie and Hayley, Heather and her amazing team for sharing just a snippet of life at Animals Asia Foundation. It has been a time of immense grief and one of joy and laughter. The team at Animals Asia live with this emotional rollercoaster ride of trauma, grief and joy every day. They are truly amazing.

The next issue of Animals' Voice magazine will carry more stories and pics of my visit.

Liane



Sheer happiness... a roll in the grass


Douglas coming to say hello

33 comments:

  1. pleasure to find such a good artical! please keep update!! ........................................

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  2. It may be that your sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others. ....................................................

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  3. 一個人的價值,應該看他貢獻了什麼,而不是他取得了什麼..................................................

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  4. 生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。....................................................................

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  5. 愛情是一種發明,需要不斷改良。只是,這種發明和其他發明不一樣,它沒有專利權,隨時會被人搶走。.................................................................

    ReplyDelete
  6. 要求適合自己的愛情方式,是會得到更多,還是會錯過一個真正愛你的人。..................................................................

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  7. 人生有些波折,才能有些成長,所以不論順逆,凡是成長、成功的助緣,都應該心存感激。..................................................

    ReplyDelete
  8. 傻氣的人喜歡給心 雖然每次都被笑了卻得到了別人的心..................................................................

    ReplyDelete