Amazing stories about the cognitive skills and emotional lives of other animals abound. Recently Chinese media has reported that a captive bear on a Chinese bear farm killed her son and then herself after she heard him cry out in pain when a catheter was jammed into his abdomen so that bile could be extracted from his gallbladder for human medicinal purposes. Around 14,000 bears are kept in horrific conditions and routinely tortured on Chinese bear farms. In this case "a mother bear reportedly broke free after hearing her cub's cry, causing [bear] 'farmers' to run away in fear. She then ran to the cub's side and immediately smothered it, then ran headlong into a wall and killed herself instantly."
Captive bears spend upwards of 30 years in tiny cages where they can barely move their head and neck to feed and drink water. As they get larger the bears are crushed in their cage so that more bile can be squeezed out. While the details of this case are still being investigated, most, if not all, of these bears suffer extreme psychological and physical damage, including severe depression, gnawing off paws, rubbing the skin off their face and nose on the bars of their cage, chewing on the bars and losing teeth, and banging their head into the sides of their cage. Liver cancer is quite common as well. The bile that is extracted is used for a variety of ailments in the name of Traditional Chinese Medicine, but there are more than 100 synthetics and herbs that are actually better and cheaper and experts agree that bile is no longer needed. Surely, it's time for a change.