Dr. Jordan Schaul interviews the legendary animal activists and Hollywood icons, the Barbi Twins. The models, known for their record breaking magazine covers, nutrition books and best selling calendars, have lent their name to nearly every type of animal cause and animal rights issue out there. They lobby for bills, protest injustice, participate in hands-on rescue and adoption, promote spay and neuter, and stray control programs, and have attained numerous TV, and movie credits for films that they have starred in or produced, all of which promote animal causes. Now they are raising awareness and campaigning against bear bile farming in Asia.
In my last post I addressed a recent and personal experience I had dealing with the tragic loss of an orphaned Kodiak brown bear that I raised from a cub to a subadult at a sanctuary in Alaska. The loss was a consequence of what we call negative human-bear interactions or human-bear conflict. It is a global issue that includes activities as seemingly benign as feeding wild bears to outright abuse of bears confined for the extraction of their prized bodily secretions.
The plight of the eight species of bears living on five of seven continents is not helped by some archaic practices that persist today. Whether you are a proponent of animal welfare or wildlife conservation or both, you should be aware that these sentient beings are still abused. Places like Wildlife SOS and Animals Asia have campaigned to remove dancing bears from the streets of India and battery bears from bile farms in China. I asked the celebrity sisters, the Barbi Twins, to comment on the topic. They were eager to share their thoughts.
Jordan: Tell us a bit about your philosophy regarding the humane treatment of animals.
Barbi Twins: My sister and I are vegans, that don’t believe in using, abusing, eating or killing any living being at all. We grew up on a ranch where our family raised animals that eventually were killed to be eaten, and it didn’t feel right to actually “murder” an innocent animal—many which have the same feelings that we do.
To kill an innocent and often sentient being just because we want to eat them, or because we can doesn’t sit well with us. We don’t judge others because no one was born vegan, and no one is perfect; it’s a choice. However, we do feel obligated to speak for the animals that unlike humans, don’t have a choice when it comes to unnecessary abuse or cruelty.
Jordan: What is bear bile farming and why are you campaigning against it?
Barbi Twins: One such case is bear bile farming, a cruel and somewhat secret practice that is unknown to much of the Western world. It is a perfect example of extreme animal cruelty condoned for selfish human interests.
Bile bears, sometimes known as “battery” bears are kept in captivity for the purposes of collecting their bile, a digestive juice from the liver, which is stored in the gall bladder. The expensive Chinese medicine is believed to be a remedy for fevers, compromised vision, etc.
The bile is extracted from their abdomen, often via an open fistula, which causes pain and infections. It’s one of the saddest sights you can ever witness. These bears constantly moan and bang their heads against the cage because of the continuous and unbearable (pun intended) agony they are forced to endure.
Supposedly, in one haunting report, a mother bile farmed bear escaped, killed her cub, and then purposely killed herself by running into a wall. Can you imagine an animal, whose instinct to survive and protect her young, was compelled to killing her own offspring and then herself? We treat criminals better than that. How can anyone justify any type of severe cruelty, especially when it’s for some type of hocus pocus medicine that isn’t even proven to be at all effective.
There are better remedies out there that don’t include subjecting bears to life in such inhumane conditions. China has tried to justify their cruelty by saying that bear farming is protecting the wild bears, since they kill up to 10,000 bears a year for their bile, and use the rest for other things. Their paws are used as a delicacy. Is delicacy a euphemism for bizarre inhumane fetish?
People have choices….. Animals don’t. Please be compassionate in your choices.
The Barbi Twins documentary, “The Lennox Legacy,” recently made the news. And lately they have been trending in the media for their hand in the world breaking news story about helping to catch the kitten killer turned cannibal murderer, Luka Magnotta. <click here>
To learn more about these famous animal activists, please follow their social media pages: