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Bears

A Day in the Life

This was written by a young lady from Australia. It was a presentation at her school. Though not as science-oriented as most, it helps explain the reasons for involvement in this cause.

A Day in the Life of a Farmed Bear in China Through a Bear's Eyes:

The morning starts with a small meal of pig swill and left over scraps accompanied by a tiny tray of powdered milk. My skinny, starved body struggles to even reach from my cage to pull in the mere amount of food on offer let alone chew it due to the rotting condition of my teeth. The farmers starve us all so our gallbladders are full of bile for the extraction we receive continuously. This is my first meal in days.

I hear my miserable neighbours groan and the sound of heads bashing against bars surround me. Chewing on our own paws is common too. This is the atmosphere I have lived in for the past five years of my life beginning from the day I was snared in my forest home in China and separated from my mother while only 12 months old. The scar still remains on my leg where the fine wire strand held tight around my paw, although I was luckier than some of my cellmates who no longer have their limb.

I suppose you could call me one of the luckier bears on this farm. I still have all four legs and have only been here for five years, unlike some bears who have been in their coffinlike cages for twenty years or more. Finished my meal, if you could call it that. I hear the farmers enter. My body trembles with fear. This only the start of the pain and nightmare we bears endure every day of our lives. The first agonising cries of my friends start, and I know my endless suffering is soon about to worsen. The bile extraction procedure is a gruesome and painful process. Some of us have a catheter, a steel or plastic tube, inserted into our abdomen which is constantly draining our bile into a bag that is held on by a steel harness that wraps tightly around our stomach so we can't even sit or lie down. The other is the method I suffer from where a hot metal catheter is inserted to remake the hole in the fistula as it tries to heal over; this is done around three times a day. Both these methods are excruciating, unhygienic, and totally inhumane.

I feel the flesh on my back grabbed and my body wreathed to the edge of the cage. I try to put up a fight but my body is just too weak. All I can do is just lie hard against the small cage on my back as they burn my sore infected skin and drain my bile. The pain is just too much to bear. I try to move but more hands just violently grab me. I slowly give up and allow the agonising pain to proceed. Groaning wildly and screaming with boredom, frustration, and pain the day slowly comes to an end. Starving, infected, many of us brain-damaged, what will become of me and my friends...

A Diary Passage of the life of a Rescued Bear Through a Bear's Eyes:

The long bumpy ride slows to a halt. Loaded into an unfamiliar truck with at least fifty of my other companions I am unsure and nervous of what is to come. Having lost all my trust in humans I growl as they lift my tiny cage from the tray. Having been cut out of my cage and being put in a cement enclosure for the night, my joints ache with every movement.

Morning comes and my enclosure is soon disturbed by the hustle and bustle of people coming. Scared and anxious I am carefully injected and feeling very tired and dopey I fall asleep. During this time I undergo a serious life-saving operation, which in a lot of cases bears are so badly injured and infected they die on the operating table because they just can't be saved. I spend the next few days in the cement enclosure recovering. I sleep most the days and am relieved of my pain.

Finally the day arrives when I am lured through a few doorways with a sweet honey treat before nervously stepping onto a cement path edging a large and beautiful green area, filled with trees, pools and climbing forts. I get a fright as I step onto the grass. Being a bear bred on a farm I have never felt grass beneath my feet or properly seen the outside world. I take my time cautiously exploring my new surroundings, my new home, before finally being greeted and included in the everyday life of the other bears who have already been introduced to this wonderful place.

Woken by the warms rays of sunlight upon my back I climb down from my comfy tree top hammock. I make my way to the newly filled food bowl and have a roll around on the grass with my other bear friends until finally helping myself to a delicious feed of juicy fruits and vegetables along with a sweet treat of honey. My life in the bear sanctuary is heaven. After my scrumptious feed I head to the pool and loll around in the cool clear water with a ball and finish off with a climb on the large climbing frames, before finally falling asleep in my favourite place, the hammock once again.

The physiotherapy I receive for my wounds and arthritis from being on the farms is soothing and comforting. I have learned to trust people again and enjoy a regular scratch and TLC from my caretaker. I never knew such a life existed.