Two 13-year-old female bears used for their bile and who had been kept captive all their lives in dark steel barred cages in the Thai Nguyen province of Vietnam have been freed for the first time in their lives. Meet Hoa Tra and Hoa Lan; two lucky bear survivors, who for the first time felt grass under their paws and looked up into the sky to see the sun.
According to News.com.au, the Asiatic bears were purchased in 2005 as cubs and were repeatedly poked and jabbed with syringes to extract their bile – part of the digestive system produced in the liver. The inhumane and painful procedure includes using a long needle injected into the bear’s abdomen. Often the procedure is carried out in substandard and unhygienic conditions, and the bears are administered huge amounts of antibiotics to keep them alive after infections commonly occur. Meanwhile the animals suffer from painful abscesses and sepsis – not to mention their psychological problems from being locked up and regularly put through painful procedures.
Reports of bears fitted with “metal jackets” to keep their wounds open, catheters inserted with little or no anesthesia using during the “milking” procedures, emphasize the inhumanity and outright cruelty for these animals. Bear bile is sold on the black market, including Australia and is used to treat everything from sexual inadequacies, cancer to hemorrhoids. There is no scientific proof to prove any effectiveness. Bear bile contains high levels of ursodeoxycholic acid; in modern times both herbal and synthetic alternatives provide the same medicinal properties.
Fortunately Four Paws Australia, an animal advocacy group was able to convince the owner to release the bears, even though he has denied using them to extract their bile that has since become illegal in the country in 2005. At least 900 bears remain caged in private bile farms across the country. In China, the illicit industry continues to flourish.
Rescuers have been placed in a tenuous position as they don’t want to discourage bear owners from turning over their bears, and therefore have made it a practice not to criticize. And so it came to be when Hoa Tra and Hoa Lan were sedated, carried from their cages and given a full medical examination. Besides their paws having been covered with thick skin, severe dental problems from chewing on the bars from malnutrition and boredom, these two bears have joined eight other rescued bears at the Ninh Binh sanctuary.
Check out the freedom video for Hoa Tra and Hoa Lan from Four Paws Australia. Here they are playing together for the first time in their lives and actually enjoying each other. Bears are just so forgiving. No warnings needed to view – just watch and smile.
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A sweet reunion sure to make you smile!