A whopping 1,900 pharmacies in China have joined international animal welfare organisation Animals Asia’s Healing Without Harm programme and promised to stop selling bear bile products in their stores.

A total of 1,945 stores, shops, pharmacies and hospitals are now bear-bile free in China.

“We’re delighted that people are pushing to be a part of this campaign now. Healing Without Harm is a key part of our efforts to end bear bile farming and this initiative has seen an unprecedented rise in traditional medicine doctors and pharmacies supporting alternatives to the use and prescription of bile,” said Animals Asia founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE.

“It’s fundamentally important to reduce the market and the availability if more bears are going to be helped, and this is just what we are seeing here.”

“Traditional medicine practitioners consistently tell us that bear bile farming is against the very ethos of traditional medicine which advocates harmony with nature. Every bile extraction causes unimaginable suffering for a bear, so fewer products on the shelves translates very simply into less pain. Every item containing bear bile cleared from a pharmacy’s shelves equals less cruelty.

“We thank all those people who are joining the campaign. What was a trickle has become a flood. So many people in China recognise that bear bile farming has had its day,” Robinson added.

“Having contacted many pharmacies and pharmaceutical factories over the past year, we have been overwhelmed by the number who agreed to abandon bear bile products as they and their customers have come to know more about bear bile farming,” said Animals Asia’s Deputy Manager of the China Bear Programme Susan Xu.

“Increasingly pharmacies, traditional medicine practitioners and pharmaceutical leaders are interested in hearing more about the alternatives and no longer want to be a part of the bear bile industry. There is a real momentum behind the cause right now as awareness increases and more and more practitioners are supporting Healing Without Harm.”

Animals Asia has been rescuing bears since 1994. They have given a second chance in life to over 500 bears in their sanctuaries in China and Vietnam.

Their last rescue operation took place in Nanning, China, where the owner of a bear farm gave custody of his 130 bears to Animals Asia after having a change of heart.

The operation, called Piece by Piece, is the ‘largest rescue of its kind ever undertaken’ and will consist of completely transforming the farm into a sanctuary and rehabilitating all the animals.

“Peace by Piece is Animals Asia’s new landmark campaign to help rescue and rehabilitate over 130 moon bears in Nanning, China. These bears have been kept in horrendous conditions – many trapped in tiny cages from birth – and farmed for their bile,” Animals Asia explained on their website.

“Some of the 41 female bears could be pregnant with up to four cubs.”

According to the organisation, over 10,00 bears are still being forced to live in crash cages on bear farms, regularly tortured during the extraction of their bile.

Most bears on bear farms live in agony for up to three decades. Living in cages where they can barely stand or move, bears suffer from starvation, dehydration, multiple diseases and infections from having a permanent hole in their stomachs.

To help Animals Asia with the Piece by Piece campaign, please consider making a donation. You can also sponsor a bear to help with their current sanctuaries, or check out their website for other ways to help.

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