How Bear Bile is Extracted

In an article on the black market trade in bear bile in Laos, Radio Free Asia reported on the process in which bear bile is extracted.

The bile is usually extracted twice a day from bears that are locked up in “crush” cages that are designed to be extremely small so that the bear is unable to stand or move. The bile is collected using a free-flowing drip method into a tube that is attached to the bear’s gall bladder. In order to slowly extract the bear bile, a opening in the bear’s stomach area must be kept open.

A milliliter of bear bile is sold on the black market for $15. The average monthly salary of a Laotian is $30.

In 2009, officials stated that two pounds of bear bile could be sold on the black market for $400,000.

Source: “Bile Trade Rife Despite Ban,” Radio Free Asia, July 27, 2011.