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A Playful Brown Bear With A Distressing Past

iris 1Credit: Photos: Animals Asia/wwwpeteryuenphotography.com

Iris is a Eurasian brown bear rescued from a horrific bear bile farm in Shandong province in April, 2010. She had been through the worst torture imaginable, incarcerated with a ‘full metal jacket’, which held an open fistula to constantly drain the bile out of her gall bladder. To this day, she still bears the scars where the jacket disfigured her body.

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She is one of five brown bears living in AnimalsAsia’s China Bear Rescue Centre. Despite her hideous past, Iris is now making the most of life in our Chengdu bear sanctuary. As these pictures and video below show, there’s no end to the amount of entertainment a powerful brown bear like Iris can get out of a log.

More than 10,000 bears – mainly moon bears, but also sun bears and brown bears – are kept on bile farms in China, and around 2,400 in Vietnam.

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The bears are milked regularly for their bile, which is used in traditional medicine.

Bile is extracted using various painful, invasive techniques, all of which cause massive infection in the bears. This cruel practice continues despite the availability of a large number of effective and affordable herbal and synthetic alternatives.

Most farmed bears are kept in tiny cages. In China, the cages are sometimes so small that the bears are unable to turn around or stand on all fours. Some bears are put into cages as cubs and never released. Some may be kept caged like this for up to 30 years. Most farmed bears are starved, dehydrated and suffer from multiple diseases and malignant tumours that ultimately kill them.

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