IN A few months' time, pictures of a modern cosmopolitan New China will be beamed around the world and all our eyes will be on the 2008 Green Olympic Games in Beijing. State of the art stadia in a 21st century city filled with a proud and pious population.

Yes this is true, but what you may not know is that in this modern city and many other Chinese cities there is a traditional medicine lining the shelves of shops, and this is called bear bile.

Leave the city and venture into the surrounding provinces and there is something horrific and barbaric going on inside many a dark and dingy shed.

An estimated 7,000 Black Asiatic Bears, (commonly known as Moon Bears because of the yellow half moon crest on their chests) are imprisoned on bear farms in tiny rusty cages with no room to stand or move around.

What on earth for? you ask yourself. Well, they are being farmed for their bile.

This bile is used to treat minor ailments but it has been proved that alternative herbal and synthetic remedies work just as well and at a fraction of the cost.

How do they extract the bile? These magnificent creatures, many captured from the wild, some losing limbs in the snares that trap them, are kept in coffin-like cages and an instrument called a catheter is crudely inserted through their bellies and into their gall bladders.

It remains there for as long as the bears cling to life.

Some are known to be locked up in this living hell for up to 20 years with their bile being agonisingly drained twice a day, every day.

So please spare a thought for these physically and mentally abused animals and the Charity called Animals Asia Foundation ( which through its founder Jill Robinson MBE have rescued 248 bears and given them their freedom and dignity back.

The lucky ones are living the rest of their lives in a sanctuary in Chengdu where they have grass to roll on, trees to climb and pools to bathe in.

There is hope for the trapped animals though. And that is with the support of people like you.

With your support Jill Robinson and her team will continue working to persuade the Chinese Government to ban this cruel and senseless practice and through awareness and education end the demand of bear bile altogether and finally bring relief and freedom to these horrifically tortured Moon Bears.

l Jill Robinson, who founded Animals Asia, will be speaking at a Charity Fundraising Evening at the Pagoda Palace on Friday June 13.

Tickets cost £35 including dinner, auction, cabaret and disco. Please call Sarah on 07866 519232 for tickets. Visit