Animals Asia has been rescuing bears from bile farms in Vietnam and China, where these captive animals are subjected to bile extraction. The extraction methods used on these bears, particularly Asiatic black bears, are extremely cruel. In Vietnam, invasive procedures are performed, while in China, surgery creates a tube for bile extraction. Despite being banned in many Asian countries, the trade remains profitable in China. The bears suffer from malnutrition, hair loss, and broken teeth due to the deplorable conditions they endure. Efforts to eliminate bile farming face challenges due to its profitability and consumer preference for real bear bile, despite the availability of synthetic alternatives. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) continues to rely on bear bile for various ailments despite the lack of scientific evidence supporting its efficacy.

In Vietnam, a legal loophole allows farmers to keep bears by claiming they do not extract bile, although evidence suggests otherwise. Activists and authorities are taking a softer approach by working with local communities to encourage them to voluntarily hand over their bears. China’s bear bile industry operates legally and has a significant market for bear bile products, which are considered legal medicines. The number of bears kept for bile extraction is increasing, with farms housing thousands of bears for breeding and extraction. The impact of bear farming on the consumption of wild bile remains inconclusive.