But a sudden and surprising introduction to a huge bear farm was this recent trip to Yunnan. The local people are very nonchalant about their local bear farm. They did not really push their products even. Perhaps bear bile wine is almost like just another factory product of theirs for decades.
We were taken to see some bears which were happily feeding away on the hill slopes.
|Black bears on the hill slope of Ping Bian|
|Factory where Bear Bile Powder and Wine are produced. Some bears are caged inside this huge building|
|Bear Bile (gall) wine|
Bear Gall (bile) powder
We visited a very special place called Ping Bian which is a small little town but it is really the centre of bear bile powder and wine production. In no time we were introduced to these products but we were not forced to buy. The locals could not get us into the factory because it was not possible for tourists to visit. We were allowed to watch the bears from a distance.
Later we were taken to several of the shops which sold the products. The ladies happily introduced us to the products and the benefits of taking them. But none of us actually bought them. When we asked our friends whether they did buy any for themselves. They said that they were still healthy!!
I suppose that is the best policy then. Stay healthy always and we don't have to over extract bile from the bears.
Note : The monetary value of the bile comes from the traditional prescription of bear bile by doctors practising traditional Chinese medicine. Bear bile contains ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA), which is believed to reduce fever, protect the liver, improve eyesight, break down gallstones, and act as an anti-inflammatory.