The Gruesome Impact of Traditional Medicine

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asian black bear photo
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From the markets of Vietnam to the pharmacies of China, the villages of the Congo to the forests of Bolivia, traditional medicine fuels a demand for animal parts, threatening the survival of an astonishing number of plant and animal species.

In Asia, bile extracted from the moon bear is used to treat everything from liver and digestive ailments to headaches. The bears are kept in "crush cages"—preventing them from moving—and are milked for their bile twice daily. As many as 50,000 bears are estimated to endure this painful procedure—which commonly ends in fatal infection—and inhuman living conditions in Vietnam and China.

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Image credit: Wikimedia Commons