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Bears may be committing suicide in dire conditions

Animal rescue workers say that bears in Laos seem to be starving themselves in response to the horrendous conditions they are kept in at bile farms there, Mother Nature Network reports.

Across Southeast Asia, about 12,000 bears are kept in bile farms in cages that are sometimes too small for them to stand up or roll over in. They are "milked" for their bile, which has an important role in traditional Chinese medicine.

Now, wildlife campaigners are pointing out a disturbing trend on the farms - bears seem to be performing hunger strikes and committing suicide as a way to escape from the cruel conditions, the news source reports.

Louis Ng, co-founder and executive director of Animal Concerns Research and Education Society in Singapore, was contacted about the bile farms in Laos and visited one to investigate the dire conditions. He told WildLife Extra that the solitude, fear and pain that the bears are in has driven them mad, causing them to ram their heads against the cages or stop eating.

Ng has now set up a rescue center in Laos to help animals that are subjected to these cruel treatments, the news outlet reports. 
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