AWI Quarterly

China's Torture Chambers

 

China's Torture Chambers

The results of an extensive undercover investigation into China's cruel bear bile farms by the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) were revealed in a new report discussed at the recent meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) in Nairobi, Kenya.

WSPA's report, Inside China's Torture Chambers, documents how thousands of bears are kept in horrific conditions in hundreds of farms across China, producing approximately 7000 kg of bear bile every year for the traditional Chinese medicine market.

WSPA fears that China will apply to register some of its bear farms with CITES (none currently registered), thereby circumventing the existing international ban on trade in endangered bear parts. Bears from facilities approved by the CITES Secretariat can have their parts sold in global commercial trade while wild bears of the same species ostensibly are protected from such profitable exploitation. Such a move would hasten the demise of bears in the wild, with many taken from the wild each year to restock the farms, and encourage the continued development of this barbaric form of "farming."

The bears kept on these farms endure the most appalling levels of cruelty and neglect, with many wounded and scarred due to the friction caused by being kept in tiny metal cages suspended above the ground. They have no choice but to lie squashed in their cages on a bed of bars, some with a constant stream of bile seeping from their stomachs, where an open wound allows workers to insert a tube or piece of metal to "tap" the bile twice a day. Bears may stop producing bile after just a few years, after which they outlive their usefulness and are left to die or killed for their paws and gall bladders. A single bear paw may sell for several hundred dollars - almost a year's salary for the average worker in China.


Photo, Bile seeps from a bear's abdomen at a Chinese bear farm in Heilongchiang Province. (Fisherman/WSPA)

Animal Welfare Institute QUARTERLY Summer 2000 Volume 49 Number 3

 

About the Cover
Katy Payne, who initiated the study of infrasound elephant communication, photographed this mother and infant elephant. Katy is profoundly committed to the protection of elephants as individuals, and she suffers with them when they are culled or poached for their ivory. She is conducting her studies now in the Central African Republic. Her book," Silent Thunder — In the Presence of Elephants," which was reviewed in the Spring 2000 AWI Quarterly , concludes sorrowfully. After Katy and five colleagues returned to the U.S., a cull by the Zimbabwe Parks Department killed many of the elephants whose voices she had recorded and grown to know.
Directors
Marjorie Cooke
Roger Fouts, Ph.D.
David O. Hill
Fredrick Hutchison
Cathy Liss
Christine Stevens
Cynthia Wilson

Officers
Christine Stevens, President
Cynthia Wilson, Vice President
Fredrick Hutchison, Treasurer

Scientific Committee
Marjorie Anchel, Ph.D.
Gerard Bertrand, Ph.D.
F. Barbara Orlans, Ph.D.
Roger Payne, Ph.D.
Samuel Peacock, M.D.
John Walsh, M.D.

International Committee
Aline de Aluja, D.M.V., Mexico
T.G. Antikas, D.M.V., Greece
Ambassador Tabarak Husain, Bangladesh
Angela King, United Kingdom
Simon Muchiru, Kenya
Godofredo Stutzin, Chile
Agnes Van Volkenburgh, Poland
Alexey Yablokov, Ph.D., Russia

Staff and Consultants
Ava Armendariz, Publications Coordinator
Amy Conklin, Administrative Assistant
John Gleiber, Assistant to the Officers
Diane Halverson, Farm Animal Advisor
Chris Heyde, Research Associate
Lynne Hutchison, Executive Secretary
Cathy Liss, Executive Director
Nell Naughton, Mail Order Secretary
Greta Nilsson, Wildlife Consultant
Viktor Reinhardt, D.M.V., Ph.D.,  Laboratory
       Animal Advisor
Jennifer Rinick, Research Assistant
Adam M. Roberts, Senior Research Associate
Wendy Swann, Research Associate
Ben White, International Coordinator

  TABLE OF CONTENTS CITES  Political "Spin" and Wildlife Conservation
by Adam M. Roberts China 's Torture Chambers,
 by Jonathan Owen  Wildlife Conservation Heroes,
by Adam M. Roberts In Remembrance of Nick Carter,
by Rosalind Reeve "Report: Japan is Top Importer of Endangered Species" Marine Mammals Judge Strikes Down Phony "Dolphin-Safe" Label U.S. Navy Kills Whales In The Bahamas,
by Ben White Elephant Seals Hot Iron Branded Wildlife and Environmental destruction The Environment Comes Second A Fur Promotion Frenzy "The Voice of the Turtle is Heard in Our Land,"
By Ben White
World Bank vs. Tigers in India,
by Bittu Sahgal and Daphne Wysham Mexican Ecological Group Blockades Logging Road to Save Forest  Animals in Laboratories A Power Struggle on Capitol Hill Over Chimpanzees' Future,
by Adam M. Roberts Animal Dealers Animal Dealers Arrested and Convicted Canadian Bear Parts Traders Jailed Another Dealer is Exposed for Illegally Acquiring Dogs for Experimentation $10,000 Reward for Stolen Labrador Retriever Farm Animals The Farm Bureau Prediction on China rBGH Reconsidered,
by Chris Bedford Two AWI Missions to Central Europe,
by Tom Garrett
Join the Fight to End Abuse of Laying Hens BioMusic BioMusic: The Music of Nature and the Nature of Music  Music of the Birds, A Celebration of Bird Song.
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Elephant Seals Hot Iron Branded

 

Elephant Seals Hot Iron Branded

Hot iron branding has caused terrible pain to animals, both wild and domestic. Photographs of branded elephant seals, with hot iron brand marks covering a significant part of the animals' sides (both sides so scientists can read the number easily) were published in the Sydney, Australia Mercury.

According to the March 29th Mercury, "The evidence collected shows the brands have created large weeping and infected wounds on many seals." The Parks and Wildlife Director, Max Kitchell, said, "a significant number of seals were left with horrific injuries which could be life-threatening."

The brandings, part of a 10 year population study, have now been mercifully stopped by the Macquarie Island government.


Mexican Ecological Group Blockades Logging Road to Save Forest

 

Mexican Ecological Group Blockades Logging Road to Save Forest

Under the headline "Jailed Mexican Wins Environmental Prize" Sam Dillon wrote a report of Rodolfo Montiel's heroic struggle to save the forest near his village north of Acapulco (The New York Times, April 5, 2000). The transnational Idaho logging company, Boise Cascade, and all the government officials to whom Montiel wrote, were unmoved by his reports that laws were being broken, rivers drying up, and thousands of fish dying.

"Our defense of the forest is a struggle for our way of life," he wrote, "The earth without trees becomes a desert, because the soul of the water lives in the cool of the forest."

Montiel's formal education ended after first grade, but his lyrical plea for the trees was wisely followed up in spring 1998 by his peasant group's blockade of logging roads to stop the timber trucks. According to Dillon's article, "Gunmen have since killed several members of Mr. Montiel's rural ecological organization and last May soldiers seized and tortured Mr. Montiel, he said, accusing him of drug and weapons crimes.

"The charges were riddled with contradictions, but were enough to send him to a penitentiary pending a felony trial. One of the human rights lawyers defending him has been kidnapped, twice."

Now the Goldman Foundation has awarded him its prestigious $125,000 environmental prize and Amnesty International declared him to be a prisoner of conscience.


ACTION Write to the President of Mexico protesting the mistreatment and imprisonment of Rodolfo Montiel. Address your letters to President Ernesto Zedillo,
c/o Embassy of Mexico,
1911 Pennsylvania Avenue,
Washington, D.C. 20006
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