Historic vote to end global bear bile industry

WSPA wish to congratulate the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for voting for a motion to end bear bile farming at their World Congress on Friday night.

“Bears suffer immense cruelty and pain as a result of being kept captive in bear bile industry conditions – it is time for this unnecessary suffering to end,” says Chris Gee, External Affairs Manager at WSPA, the world’s leading animal welfare organization. “The IUCN made the right decision and millions of WSPA supporters and animal lovers around the world will welcome this exciting news.”

As it’s difficult to breed wild animals such as bears in captivity, WSPA staff repeatedly see evidence that bears on “farms" have been stolen from the wild across a number of countries. After marathon debates throughout the week, an overwhelming 98 per cent of those Governments and Conservation Groups who voted for the motion showed they clearly understand the urgent need to stop this inhumane treatment of bears.

What does the motion achieve for bears?

WSPA welcome the fact that expert conservationists and governments are joining animal welfare NGOs in calling for an end to this cruel and unnecessary industry. The new IUCN motion calls for:

  • Countries to close down bear bile farming and extraction facilities,
  • Capping the growth of the industry in China,
  • Those who back the bear bile industry and claim it doesn’t affect wild bear numbers, to provide independent scientific evidence to the next IUCN World Conservation Congress.

The IUCN also specifically encouraged the governments of South Korea and Vietnam to continue efforts towards ending bear farming

South Korea

© The Endangered Species Restoration project, S. Korea

Global attention will now focus on action to back this almost unanimous IUCN directive. WSPA and its partner Green Korea United now urge the Environment Minister, Yoo Young Sook to boldly announce the Government’s plan to end the bear bile industry in South Korea.

We hope that in the coming months, South Korea will:

  • allocate sufficient budget and
  • provide a guaranteed timetable
for the planned phase out the bear bile industry in South Korea.

Such an announcement will leave an impressive “green” legacy from the IUCN 2012 congress hosts and also demonstrate progressive and sustainable global leadership.

“Taking action to phase out the bear bile industry is essential to protect existing and future generations of bears from this completely unnecessary and cruel practice that is damaging to nature” said Mr Gee.

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