Mama Bear: A story about Bear Bile from Jenny Jinya & Paul Goodenough

By Jenny Jinya, Paul Goodenough and World Animal Protection UK

Ending the bear bile industry

An article from World Animal Protection UK

Why is bile is extracted from bears’ gall bladders? It is a practice which began in the Chinese Tang Dynasty (659 A.D.) for use in Traditional Chinese Medicine due to its’ alleged healing powers.

The industrialisation of this process was introduced by North Korea to China in the 1980s, and since then bears have been kept in captivity in Asian bear bile facilities, particularly Vietnam, Korea, China, Laos and Myanmar.

Infographic From World Animal Protection


“The exploitation of captive bears for their bile is one of the worst examples of animal cruelty in the world today, so we’re thrilled to have worked with Rewriting Extinction on this touching and creative project to raise awareness and support, to help bring it to an end. For 30 years now, World Animal Protection has been campaigning to put an end to the suffering of bears worldwide and we are committed to continue changing the system, policies and mindset that allow cruel farming of bears and other wildlife for commercial exploitation.” Gilbert Sape, Global Head of Campaign, World Animal Protection


Why use bear bile products?

A range of ailments including stomach and digestive disorders, and kidney problems are treated using bear bile products. Our researchers have identified 32 herbal alternatives to bear bile already included in Traditional Chinese Medicine texts.

Which calls into question the true purpose of this industry, given that all methods of extracting bile from live bears cause severe distress and pain. And open wounds from extractions can lead to infections, chronic illness and death.

Bear living conditions

  • Many bears spend 24 hours a day in a cage and are fed insufficient and unhealthy food.
  • A 2000 study found that most captive bears kept on Asian bear farms were in a state of very high stress and suffering and conditions failed to meet internationally recognised standards.
  • Bears endure extreme mental and physical suffering, with some wounded or scarred from repeatedly rubbing or hitting themselves against the bars in frustration. Often these captive bears suffer from bone deformities, surgical wounds, parasites and other ailments.
  • Asiatic black bears need to roam and forage for food to stay healthy. In captivity, they are unable to express their natural behaviours – leading to severe distress.


How you can help

We’re devoting the next 12 months of our lives to raising the money and awareness we need to stop species going extinct, and to put them back into recovery.

Our project brings together the best projects and thinking from 7 charities and a whole slew of experts from across the planet. Let this be the moment we say “NO MORE EXTINCTION” and start rebuilding their world, for all our benefits.

Please do consider donating and sharing our message to create a global voice of positivity and action. Thank you xx

Comic credits

Story developed with Paul Goodenough and World Animal Protection UK
Written by Jenny Jinya and Paul Goodenough 
Art by Jenny Jinya


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