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  Bears at risk in 'cruel' farms
Updated 28 October 2002, 16.01
There are around 200 bear farms in China
Bears are in danger of becoming extinct because their body parts are being used in Chinese medicines, says an animal charity.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) says the illegal trading needs to be stopped and the bears need better protection.

The most common practise is taking bile from a bear's gall bladder and selling it on for loads of money.

Bear products

Fact File
Bear bile
Bile is a liquid stored in the stomach which helps digest food
Used in shampoo and some traditional Chinese remedies
Bile is drawn out of their stomachs from painful, open wounds

WSPA claims bear bile is being sold onto other countries to people who make Chinese medicines, even though this is illegal.

They found bear products were openly being sold in countries like Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, America, Canada, Indonesia, Australia and Taiwan.

It's thought more than 7,000 bears are kept in very cruel conditions in about 200 farms in China, often in tiny cages.

Bears are kept in cramped cages in bear farms
Bears are kept in cramped cages in bear farms

Numbers of brown, black and sun bears are in danger of dropping drastically because more and more are being caught and put in these farms, the charity claims.

Bears kept in these farms only live an average of 10 years - but they live three times longer than that in the wild.

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