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In China, thousands of bears live a life of torture on bear farms. The bears are “farmed” in order to extract their bile. Bears are confined in cages which vary in size from agonisingly tiny "crush" cages to slightly larger steel crates, all of which cause terrible physical and mental suffering. In addition to their captivity torment, the bears are subjected to painful & cruel methods of bile extraction that involve crude surgery to implant a steel catheter into the abdomen or the creation of a permanent hole in the abdomen known as the "free-dripping" technique.

Many bears die as a result of the unsanitary surgery and those that survive spend the rest of their lives suffering in extreme pain and depravation.

The Asiatic Black Bear (Ursus Selenarctos) is most impacted by the demand for bile acid - ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA). This species of bear is more commonly known as the Moon Bear due to the beautiful yellow crescent on its’ chest. They are listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Appendix I, the most critical category of endangerment. These bears are both trapped in the wild & bred in captivity for exploitation on the farms.

Bear bile is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. However, leading Traditional Chinese Medicine doctors now agree that it can and should be replaced by herbal and synthetic alternatives that are cheaper, more effective and readily available. So in addition to the inhumanity, the initial rationale on which this industry was built is no longer valid.






China Bear Rescue Centre

The China Bear Rescue Centre came in to being following the signing of an unprecedented agreement with the Chinese authorities in July 2000 to free 500 farmed Moon Bears. The sanctuary was established north of Chengdu. The China Bear Rescue Centre is an inspiring and exciting facility that gives the bears everything they were denied on the farms: health, freedom & happiness. These happy & healthy bears have tasty food, the pleasure of roaming in lush natural foliage or swimming in cool water and the freedom of choosing whether to wander off alone, or to be "on view" to admirers.

Upon arrival these pitiful, caged newcomers are given a medical by the Centre’s Veterinary Team now recognized as world experts in this field. All the bears required extensive surgery for their injuries, to remove the steel catheters and to fix their abdominal wounds. Surgery for each bear lasts between 4-12hours.

The sanctuary, features the pioneering design and development work of an internationally acclaimed animal architect. This is the first dedicated bear sanctuary in the world. It is an adventurous creation that combines a safe, but natural, home-from-home for the bears in Rehab Centres and bamboo forest, - but which also allows inspirational "up-close" visitor access in specially created "zones", where the general public can see a bear’s life!

Catering to their special needs is a professional team of on-site managers and workers, plus experts (including volunteers) who are experienced and qualified in working with bears and who ensure that each day is filled with interesting enrichment activities to keep them stimulated throughout the day.

Helping these bears - helps people as well. In addition to the Centre imparting “inspiration for humanity” on its visitors they also currently employ over 50 people on site, ranging from bear workers, security and maintenance staff, and gardeners. Cooks are employed to feed 185 bears and staff who give them their every day care. Local farmers have a ready market for their produce and several small shops have appeared around the perimeter of the Rescue Centre.

The Rescue Centre is open to the public.







Why Support this Charitable Cause?

In addition to the obvious benefits for the Moon Bears, this project and the foundation are deserving of support and relevant to those living in Sichuan, reasons include:

  • Well run charity with a high percentage of donation being spent on their programs
  • Achieving positive outcomes with a win-win-win approach
  • Geographically relevant
  • Participation encouraged
  • Enlisting volunteers to assist
  • Defined project expansion upon reaching funding targets


Animals Asia’s approach for this project is worthy of mention.

To achieve the outcome of cessation of bear farming in China, they initially signed an agreement with the China Central Government to issue no more bear farming licenses enforceable across all provinces. They then set about encouraging bear farms to find alternate activities and help convince them by purchasing their bear farming licenses. They built a centre to help these newly freed bears. To change attitudes they enlisted the support of leading Chinese doctors and the Traditional Chinese Medicine Associations across the world to reject bear bile as a source of UDCA.

They operate campaigns in schools & universities in China to educate people about the cruelty and complete in-necessity of this industry. The local community is involved through employment & commerce.

They have created momentum for this outstanding cause by delivering win-win-win solutions, not problems.

Animals Asia Foundation

The Animals Asia Foundation, managed by professionals, resident in Asia, is committed to forging constructive solutions to the seemingly insurmountable problems which the animals face in today's changing environment.




Animals Asia Foundation is a Hong Kong-based government-registered animal welfare charity founded by Jill Robinson MBE in 1998. It also has charitable status in the UK, USA and Germany with donations being tax-deductible in these countries. It is a registered non-profit organization in Australia and has additional offices in New Zealand and China.

For more information, please visit

Animals Asia Foundation web site here


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