There is an enormous amount of suffering inherent in the bear bile farming industry. Although this concept might seem bizarre in the eyes of a Western audience, consuming bear bile to treat everything from hangovers, arthritis, and serious ailments has been part of Traditional Asian Medicine for centuries. As a result of the popularity of this product, industrialized bear bile farming has become a serious problem, Animals Asia estimates there are around 10,000 bears kept in bile farms in China and around 1,200 in Vietnam.

Bears raised in bile farms spend their lives in “crush” cages that are designed to keep bears still while the bile is painfully drained from their gallbladders on a daily basis. These animals know nothing but pain, fear, and suffering for their entire lives. All of this is done simply so consumers can enjoy a product that has numerous synthetic alternatives that do not require any form of animal abuse.

Given the brutality of this industry, it is wonderful to know that there are many people working to put an end to this industry. Animals Asia, for example, works tirelessly to help bile farmers transition out of this cruel industry and give bears a better life. Most recently, this incredible organization helped carry out the rescue of a moon bear named Chau who spent the last 13 years of her life inside a cage.

Rescuers believe that Chau was taken from the wild as a cub and has never known anything but life in captivity.

Freeing Chau from her enclosure needed a lot of care and planning. The bear was visibly agitated by the presence of so many people.

These are the locks that held the bear for so many years. They had rusted shut entirely – a testament to the extreme limits on her freedom.

After 13 years of pacing the same wire cage, Chau is finally on her way to learn what it means to be a bear.

Chau and the rescue team have a long journey back to Animals Asia’s sanctuary in Vietnam and it will take a number of days for them to reach their final destination. Once at the sanctuary, this bear will finally get all the medical care and attention she so sorely needs and after a period of quarantine, she will be able to join other former bile bears. This epic rescue marks the very first step in Chau’s journey to get the life she always deserved.

To learn more about Animals Asia and their life-saving work, click here.