The Kind Life is a community around Alicia Silverstone and The Kind Diet where friends, doctors, experts in green living, and members share vegan tips.

Travel

Leanne Visits Moon Bear Sanctuary!

Last month, I was honored to fly to Beijing to show my vegan fashion line, VAUTE, at the Fur Free Life Fashion Show for A​ctAsia,​and speak to press about innovations in fashion to take animals out of the equation. ActAsia is doing incredible work to educate the public about how animals killed for fur are treated. It was a whirlwind few days of the yummiest noodles, Asian arcades, and feeling completely disoriented (and refreshed!) in a facebook and gmail free world.

After that I headed to Chengdu to visit a little slice of heaven­ the Moon Bear Sanctuary, run by the incredible Animals Asia. ​Most people have never even heard about it (I hadn’t until recently) but in China they take beautiful moon bears and turn them into bear bile machines, where they live in the smallest cages and some even wear full metal jackets for their whole lives, strategically starved so that they will move into place to have their bile drained from their abdomens. These bears live in such agony that many end up with teeth broken and ripped out, if they haven’t already been cut off by the bile farm factory owners, from trying to escape their cages again and again. Others self mutilate their bodies and have limbs missing from being illegally caught in the wild. It’s incredibly sad, and I’m sorry for the graphic description.

Leanne

Jill Robinson, the founder of Animals Asia, was so kind as to meet me at the Bear Sanctuary to show me around to meet the rescued bears. This woman is a hero for the animals. When the government can shut down a Bear Bile farm, they bring the survivors to the Animals Asia Sanctuary.

Bear lOve

You’d think after a life like that­ spending anything up to 30 years in a cage, these bears would be despondent and broken. But they are alive­ SO alive. Swinging on hammocks, taking naps together, and sticking their tongue out at you. For safety, I couldn’t get too physically close, but they would sit facing me and look in my eyes. After all they have been through, they have found a love for life, almost unbelievably they trust again, and they have found each other. Entrepreneurship can be challenging, but after learning what these beautiful sweethearts have been through, I can’t help but work to be stronger, to give my all for the animals.

Moon Bear

After visiting, I hoped more people could know about the bear bile farms, to be able to support AnimalsAsia’s work in rescuing them and giving them a home. While Chinese Bear Bile is illegal to sell in America (please notify AnimalsAsia if you ever see it) please keep an eye out for bear bile in the list of ingredients of medicinal products found in chinese pharmacies. There are many Chinese herbal alternatives available that are just as effective and many wonderful traditional chinese medicine doctors supporting Animals Asia’s “Healing Without Harm” Campaign in China, Vietnam, the US, and across the world. I​f you care about these bears and would like to help, please visit Animals Asia’s site https: www.animalsasia.org/us/donate/ ​to donate.

Vaute

Oh and as a sidenote, some big news for VAUTE! We’ve been bootstrapped for the past 6 years, and just aren’t able to meet demand with limited team and resources. It’s time though­ the world is ready­ for a new bar in fashion: of innovative vegan textiles and kind labor. If you are an accredited investor and interested in supporting vegan or women owned businesses, would love for you to read more h​ere.​

We’ll also be hiring, see the openings listed h​ere.​ Looking for people who love fashion and creating change, and want to put their talents towards creating a better world for the animals.

Sending the biggest moon BEAR hugs you ever saw!

xoxo Leanne

Leanne Mai­-ly Hilgart,​is the founder of V​AUTE ​an innovative fashion house for animals lovers and change makers. Vaute was the first vegan label to show at New York Fashion Week. Leanne has been named the “Rebel of Fashion Week” (CNN), “Gamechanger” (Conde Nast), and “Most Influential Designer” (PETA). Follow VAUTE on facebook h​ere,​ Instagram here.​

Recommended

  • http://www.vegnut.com Rhonda

    I am so glad to hear of Leanne’s Vaute fur free line.

    Thank you for sharing this article about the Moon Bear Sanctuary. It is heartbreaking to know that these bears are treated so inhumanely for their bile.

    I wanted to learn more about this practice and found this on Wikipedia:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bile_bear#Bile_products

  • Michelle K.

    what an amazing story. i cannot believe how horribly those sweet bears are treated. this was hard to read, but so important. thank you for getting this information out there. this post touched my heart.

  • Sami Collins

    It’s so sad that people can harm animals thinking some body part or fluid from the poor creatures will enhance them in some way. I had no idea about the bears and bile. It’s sick they can do that. I had lived in an area where I could watch the bears walk in front of my door and it’s the coolest thing. How anyone can harm any animal is beyond me. So glad there are places like Moon Bear Sanctuary and people like Leanne Vaute is not conforming to the norm and choosing her lines with kindness over cruelty.