A bile bear or battery bear is the term used for Asiatic black bears kept in captivity in Vietnam and China so that bile may be extracted from them for sale as a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The bears are also known as moon bears because of the cream-colored crescent moon shape on their chest. The Asiatic black bear, the one most commonly used on bear farms, is listed as vulnerable on the World Conservation Union's (IUCN's) Red List of Threatened Animals.
To facilitate the bile milking process, the bears are commonly kept in cramped extraction cages, also known as crush cages. While this allows for easier access to the abdomen, it also prevents the bears from being able to stand upright, and in some extreme cases, move at all. Living up to twenty-five years in this extreme confinement results in severe cases of mental stress as well as severe muscle atrophy. The World Society for the Protection of Animals reports that investigators saw bears moaning, banging their heads against their cages, and chewing their own paws. The mortality rate is high. Bears in bile farms suffer from a variety of physical problems which include loss of hair, malnutrition, stunted growth, muscle mass loss and often have teeth and claws extracted. When the bears stop producing bile after a few years, they are usually killed for their meat, fur, paws and gall bladders. Bear paws are considered a delicacy.