The subject of Sun Bear treatment always has a lot of very strong opinions on both sides of the story. I personally feel that the cruelty of killing Sun Bears for their body parts and bile extraction is extremely unnecessary, even though it can be used for medical purposes. The extraction of bile from Sun Bears and the other species of bears has been used for traditional Chinese medicine for over 3,000 years. The medicine helps cure illness related to high temperatures, sore eyes, relieving spasms and liver upset. Bears provide an abundant supply of bile. They have the highest content of bile compared to any other animal.
This is what makes them such a target and it is a main reason for the species being endangered. One of the main reasons why I am against the extraction of bile is because it often results in the unnecessary death of Sun Bears and I believe that other ways should be used to produce/consume bile. Many Chinese Practitioners state that there are at least 75 herbal alternatives on the market currently and that can replace the use of bile in medicines, 54 of them have been proven to work. The alternatives are a cheaper, more convenient source and they are just as effective without the cruelty and the deaths of innocent animals.
On the other side of the story, it provides good sources of income and employment. It is a good tourist attraction as many people enjoy eating their meat. Using Sun Bears as a source of food is no different than any other animal, since all other animals get slaughtered for their meat and their body parts are used, including their paws and gall bladders which are removed after the bear is dead. For example pig’s get slaughtered for their meat and their ears are used as a snack for dogs and other similar pets, yet there are no major petitions against that, so why should it be any different for Sun Bears.
In fact Sun Bears help produce many products and delicacies such as shampoo and wine. Even though Sun Bear products are useful and do provide a lot of good things, the species are almost extinct and research shows that the Bear farms are doing very little to conserve the species. The bears are treated horribly and have to go through tremendous events such as bile extraction. When the bile is being milked from them, some farmers have confessed that the bears show great signs of distress and some even gnaw at their own paws because the pain is so unbearable.
The majority of the time the bears are milked by the farmers themselves and it is rare that the farmer has any veterinary qualifications, resulting in a lot of complications. The research done has shown that every two successful extractions result in 2-3 deaths due to infection or other complications. The bears are held on an average cage size of 0. 8m x 1. 3m x 2m, making it very hard for the bear to move. The floor surface is made of iron bars, meaning they do not have a stable, flat surface. That results in back and neck problems since the bear has to sleep on the iron bars.
This is not the only cruel treatment that the bears go through. If the bear stops producing bile, often around the age of 5â€“10 years, the farm staff will transport the bear to a different cage where it is left to die of starvation or infection, or if the bear survives long enough, it is cooked and used as meat, as well as having its paws are cut off and gall bladder removed and then sold to consumers. Jiang Zemin, President of Peoples Republic Of China writes in his letter to Hiroshi Ohki, Minister of the Environment: “I am appalled to learn of the barbaric treatment of bears, kept for their bile at farms in China.
The findings of WSPA prove that bear farming can never be justified. ” The bear bile is not only used for medical remedies. In 1999, the bear bile in small bottles, began to be given out as a free gift to passengers on a plane. This is not the only example of bear bile being used outside of medical research. Because the rise in interest of bear farms, bear bile has become a lot more wanted in a wider range. This has led to an opening in a whole new market and bear bile is now being used for things such as eye drops and a whole range of pre-prepared ointments.
However bile extraction and meat consumption is not the only threat to Sun Bears. Sun Bears are also commonly used as pets in Taiwan. In 1991, in Taiwan, amongst the public, there were 140 bears registered as pets with 120 of them being sun bears. As each family member is allowed to legally own 2 of any species of animal, a family of 4 can own up to 8 Sun Bears. Like chimpanzees, when they are adult they are far to big, aggressive and strong to keep as a pet, even though the Sun Bear is the smallest Bear species.
When they do reach adulthood, they are often sold to bear farms or killed by the family. In conclusion, I realise that some the bile has been used for medical reasons and has worked effectively, but this is no excuse for the horrendous pain and suffering the Sun Bears and other species of bears have gone through and are still going through because there are plenty of alternatives that are available instead of bear bile that work just as effectively. Now the governments have to put a stop to Bear farms and stop this act for good.