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After nearly 16 years of fighting to end the barbaric bear bile trade, Animals Asia recently embarked on Peace by Piece – the world’s largest ever bear rescue – which will see a former bear bile farm transformed into a bear rescue centre. It is Animals Asia’s belief that the agreement with the state-run Flower World in Nanning, China will inspire supporters, the government and even farms around the country to seek a way out of the cruel, unpopular and ailing industry. Today, more than 10,000 bears are kept on bile farms in China, and around 2,400 suffer the same fate in Vietnam. The bears regularly suffer bile extraction for use in traditional medicine.

Bile is extracted using various painful, invasive techniques, all of which cause massive infection to the bears. This cruel practice continues despite the availability of a large number of effective and affordable herbal and synthetic alternatives. Most farmed bears are kept in tiny cages. In China, the cages are sometimes so small that the bears are unable to turn around or stand on all fours. Bears are often caged for their entire lives which can be up to 30 years. Farmed bears are frequently starved, dehydrated and suffer from multiple diseases and malignant tumours that can ultimately kill them.

However, we are seeing a growing number of bear farmers who are actively seeking a way out of an industry that they now know hurts and exploits the bears. Peace by Piece is encouraging them by offering a blueprint for change.

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With your help, the Peace by Piece campaign can support a future where bears will see out their years free from the torture of exploitation, in an environment without fear. Please think of these poor, miserable creatures lying on bars in their cages, as you wake from a restful night’s sleep — as I do each day. It’s a vision that has haunted me from my first visit to a farm over 20 years ago — but today, I know that we’re on the road to freedom for each and every bear.

You can generate donations to support the Animals Asia Foundation and programs like Peace by Piece through We-Care.com at animalsasia.we-care.com/getstarted.