As someone who subscribes to wildlife conservation and animal welfare organizations, and animal news sites, I am constantly exposed to stories about the vile actions of humans toward animals. There is no shortage of shock and disgust over what man is capable of ... but even this latest news floored me.
The Dodo reported that Russian police recently made a macabre discovery: 37 unmarked bags containing wildlife body parts, the most egregious of them included bear paws. According to the officers, a total of 527 bear feet, a bear muzzle, gallbladders and three musk deer glands were found. All this as a result of the thriving illegal wildlife trade. It's suspected that these wildlife body parts were en route to China and other parts of Asia where there is a high demand for them.
I've heard of bears (including cubs) caged up and conscious as their bile is drained from them since it's considered medicinal. The bears claw their cages in pain and agony as an oversized hypodermic needle extracts their bile. What's equally sickening is that in the bear gallbladder trade, hunters commonly "frighten or wound the bear first in order to let it die slowly, in pain, in the belief that the gallbladder becomes larger when the large animal suffers (WuDunn 1997)."
But bear paws considered as a delicacy in soups is news to me. I couldn't believe the information I found on it: live bears lowered onto hot coals to cook their paws or bear paws cut off with the stump "sealed in hot coals and oil to stop the bleeding". I've even read that the bear itself will be immersed, ALIVE, in hot water because people like to see it to know that their meat is fresh before consuming it.
Please help fight illegal wildlife trade by donating to animal welfare organizations like Animals Asia.
Other organizations that work to end bear bile farming:
Here's a video on the plight of bears and the vital work that Animals Asia does to help end bear farming.