Shin the mal-treated husky in Singapore had definitely suffered, but for him there is now a silver lining in the end to his 5 years of suffering.
Compared to what he has gone through, the suffering the moon bears of China endure are unimaginable mind-bogglers.
As I learnt more about bear bile farming, my already soft spot for bears just got even more tender. Knowing that they are needed alive to provide a continuous supply of bile on the tap, and so aren’t killed, unlike the animals who end up in China’s animal death camps doesn’t alleviate the ache I feel for them: their existence makes death a much preferable alternative.
btmao and I follow AnimalsAsia‘s work whenever we can. In their latest effort, emerged the story of one of these bears, or the nearest he came to rescue… unfortunately, Peace will never know caring touches, the sensation of being able to stand normally or feel grass under his feet because he died ignominiously, en-route from the hellhole bear farm he was rescued from, to the sanctuary AnimalsAsia run in Chengdu.
The AnimalsAsia blog has a poignant entry on Peace. Unfortunately, Peace’s plight is not unique. The horror is how common it is.
It’s been a frantic and heartbreaking day for everyone here on site, but just quickly, more bad news I’m afraid. Two more beautiful bears have died today, one we euthanised to put him out of his agony, the other simply couldn’t hold on any longer – and who could blame him?
I’ll bring you more details as soon as I have a moment, but for now let me share with you this beautiful tribute to “Peace”, the poor bear that was delivered to us dead last night. It was written by our Veterinary Consultant, Dr Kati Loeffler. Where she found the time, I don’t know, because she and the rest of the team have literally been working non-stop.
Peace, whose skeletal, necrotic paw – literally rotting away – is pictured below, had been left to wither away on the farm with no water and no food, clearly no longer producing bile, so no longer of use. Here are Kati’s words:
Peace was an Asiatic black bear who died on the truck from the bile farm to the AAF sanctuary. He lay crunched into the tiny coffin cage, his emaciated head propped against one end and his right arm flung through the bars as though in a final plea for someone to end his suffering.
His body was more emaciated than one would believe possible to have still been alive. His eyes were sunken deep into the skull, small and lifeless and jaundiced. The right hind paw was stripped of flesh, revealing the skeleton of toes and the rotten, leathered skin crumpled over the end like a sock trying to come off. Deep gouges into the tissue of his right forepaw suggested that Peace may have tried to chew off his flesh to detract from the agony of his body.
On opening the abdomen, the veterinary team found the liver abused with cancer, the lining of the gall bladder cobbled and angry with polyps, the bile thick from dehydration and starvation, the tissue jaundiced from liver failure, and bile leaking into the abdominal cavity. This bear had suffered unconscionable agonies. His final plea drowned in the rattle of a diesel truck that did not deliver him in time to know the only succor he may have ever received.
Preceding this post on Peace, was this blog post, which described the circumstances of the rescue operation, that almost liberated Peace. But 26 others are now at the sanctuary because of this operation, hopefully able to live a life more peaceful and dignified.
It is so hard to know how to start. Yesterday when we knew more bears were on their way to our China sanctuary, we were realistic enough to know that some would be in very poor shape and in urgent need of medical attention, but we also allowed ourselves to feel some excitement and hope. We had to.
Nothing had prepared us for what we were about to witness. The anguish and despair on the faces of these poor souls will haunt me forever. The terror, the agony in the harrowing looks that greeted us as the team gently lifted their cages from the backs of the trucks. These majestic animals had been drained of all hope, their lives lived in the absence of all decency…
I watched as the bear workers poured their grief and horror into their physical labour. These fine Sichuan men, eight to a cage, with eyes straight ahead and metal lifting-bars grinding into their shoulders, are the pall-bearers of the living dead. I watched as the vet and bear team bravely blank out their pain, clearly stunned by the level of atrocity, but determinedly professional, focused totally on the job of saving these bears from any further injustice.
The three trucks carrying the bears arrived at 8pm last night (Monday, China time). The stench coming from the cages gave us some warning of what lay ahead. One poor bear was dead on arrival, his rake-thin body, still warm, grotesquely disfigured by smouldering wounds that had rotted down to the bone. We named him “Peace” and instinctively reached to hold his skeletal paw.
By midnight, all the bears had been unloaded and settled into two long poly-tunnels, the start of a long night.
Here’s the links to a series of articles published in Dec 2007, in Hong Kong about the still rampant cruelties of bear bile farming:
- Bear bile farming articles win HK press award