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Did Caged Bear Commit Suicide?

Mother bear reportedly killed cub, then herself to end torture

A bear named Crystal, rescued from a bile farm by Animals Asia

A mother bear reportedly strangled her cub and then killed herself by running head first into a wall.

What would cause a mother to do this? What would cause any bear to do this?

Both mother and child were in tiny cages having their gall bladders “milked” daily for bile, which is used in quack Chinese medicine.

The bile is drained from a hole in the abdomen of black bears. This wound is left open permanently and routinely leads to all manner of infections that can cause unbearable pain.

The bears often try to kill themselves by punching themselves in the stomach, and are fitted with iron vests to stop them.

In this case, the mother and cub were being kept in tiny “crush cages” on a farm in Northwest China. One witness told the Chinese news service Reminbao.com that the mother bear broke out of her cage when she heard her cub crying out. She rushed to her cub, hugged him, then strangled him. Then she ran head-first into a wall, killing herself.

According to another report in Singapore Seen, a witness said the mother bear had broken open the cage and first tried, but was unable, to break the chains.

At any given time, there are more than 12,000 bears in bile farms across Asia.

Bears can be kept in these cages and farmed for their bile for around 20 years until they no longer produce it. Then they’re killed.

What you can do: Jill Robinson of Animals Asia works to save bears from being used on bile farms. You can read about her work here and donate to their work through Project Sunshine. Also, the World Society for the Protection of Animals works with police in various countries to intercept the bear bile trade.