Inside the Disturbing World of Bear-Bile Farming
“Our concern is that there’s the potential for the industry to explode in Laos,” says a wildlife activist in a new video.
Bears can pry open car doors, dig up tree stumps, and take on a tiger. That’s why it’s disturbingly incongruous to see them lying on their backs, held fast and hooked up to a catheter that drains fluid from them like a tap extracting syrup from a maple tree.
But that’s exactly what happens in Laos, which has become a relatively new hot spot for bear farming. The practice involves locking bears in tiny cages for repeated sessions of painful, invasive extraction of their bile.
National Geographic got an inside look at activists from Free the Bears, an Australia-based organization, rescuing bears in Laos from the bile and pet trades, as well as from poachers seeking to kill the animals