Captive Bears in Human–Animal Welfare Conflict: A Case Study of Bile Extraction on Asia's Bear Farms [Book Review]

Bear bile has long been used in the Asian traditional pharmacopoeia. Bear farming first started in China ~30 years ago in terms of reducing the number of poached bears and ensuring the supply of bear bile. Approximately 13,000 bears are today captivated on Asia’s bear farms: their teeth are broken and the claws are also pulled out for the sake of human safety; the bears are imprisoned in squeeze cages for years; and a catheter is daily inserted into a bear’s gall bladder or a tube is implanted inside its body in order to collect the dripped bile—captive bears moan in severe pain whenever the bile is extracted. When the bears cannot produce sufficient bile, they are often left to die of starvation. It must be impossible to justify the bile extraction from living bears because (1) medicinal/herbal alternatives are similar to bear bile; (2) there is no evidence to suggest that bear farming has any beneficial effects on wild bear populations; and (3) ethical problems lie not only in the painful bile extraction but also the whole lifecycle of captive bears. In conclusion, human welfare (health care) based on traditional medicine is upheld by sacrificing bear welfare. Since a trial calculation suggests that it is economically unfeasible to keep a proper balance between bear welfare and the traditional pharmacopeia, the cultivation of herbal alternatives seems to be a possible solution to phase out bear faming and maintain the practice of traditional medicine in Asia
Keywords Captive bear  Bile  EU resolution  Traditional medicine  Pain  Welfare
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10806-010-9290-2
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,865
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Linda Wetzel (2002). On Types and Words. Journal of Philosophical Research 27:239-265.
David Hull (1992). Testing Philosophical Claims About Science. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1992:468 - 475.
Norah Martin (2001). Feminist Bioethics and Psychiatry. Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 26 (4):431 – 441.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

21 ( #134,718 of 1,724,875 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,126 of 1,724,875 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.