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This mural was painted at a bear Sanctuary created by Animals Asia in Tam Dao, Vietnam.
Spread over an area of 11 hectares, there are almost 200 bears here.
I was lucky enough to paint a mural at the sanctuary and learn everything I could about why these bears were rescued.
The answer to my question was simple, but yet horrifying...
Does that sound strange? I had never heard of a bear bile farming either.
These bears were held in captivity on farms in Asia to have bile extracted from their gall bladders
on a regular basis, bears are tortured, kept starving in tiny cages, and subjected to painful procedures which can cause them to have damage to their internal organs, broken teeth, and blindness.
The harvested bear bile is used in traditional medicine and is promoted as a cure for multiple illnesses already served well by the pharmaceutical industry. There is absolutely no need for it as there are over 30 readily-available, herbal alternatives to bear bile, and numerous synthetic ones.
Animals Asia, led by founder and CEO Jill Robinson, is changing the entire practice and is aiming to stop bile farming.
Jill founded Animals Asia in 1998 and has rescued over 600 bears from the cruel practice of bear bile farming in Vietnam and China.
Most of the rescued bears can not be released into the wild, so the sanctuary provides the bears with a safe place where they are able to recover and spend the remaining years of their lives in the company of other bears.
I was lucky enough to meet Jill Robinson who named my mural Rainbow in fond memory of the only bear Animals Asia were able to release back into the wild in China in 2016. After she was caught in an illegal snare and was nursed her back to health. Rainbow is remembered at Tam Dao National Park as a symbol of freedom.
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