Leeches Pump Fresh Blood Into Economy

A resurgence in the use of leeches is pumping fresh blood into Russia's economy with health experts, western governments and movie stars endorsing their benefits.

Leeches are swelling in popularity both medically and cosmetically with big-name enthusiasts from the likes of Demi Moore who recently had leeches suck her blood in the name of detox therapy.

And it is good news for Russia, which breeds 10 times more leeches than the rest of the world combined.

The majority of the country's leeches are born in the International Leech Centre just outside Moscow. Imagine a library, but with jars full of leeches instead of books, and a female-dominated workforce making for a maternal atmosphere.

Farm manager Elena Titova says: "There is always contact and a special relationship between humans and leeches. Women have a maternal instinct so they are better at doing this delicate and complicated work than men.

"There are two million leeches at the farm - at one pound per leech, this is big business.

Each leech has three sets of jaws with 90 teeth; their medical value lies in the fact that they secrete a natural anaesthetic that also prevents the blood from clotting.

Feeding time involves buckets of cows' blood and resembles something out of a horror movie - leeches that are about to be sold do not get any food for three months to ensure their appetite is strong when they reach clients.

Click here to read more from Sky News