The problem

Across Asia, over 20,000 bears are kept in captivity for their bile, which is extracted using cruel, painful procedures and sold as traditional medicine. These captive bears suffer in filthy and cramped conditions, often in cages no bigger than phone booths.

But the bear bile industry is completely unnecessary — plentiful and inexpensive synthetic and herbal alternatives to bear bile are readily available.

What we're doing

  • Joining with partners, including governments, global bodies, local partners and individuals, to stop bears being exploited and to create lasting change.
  • Promoting better welfare for captive bears, while we move to end the bear bile industry for good.
  • Seeking laws, policies, monitoring and enforcement to ensure that captive bears are given space to move, provided with richer environments and are protected from all forms of bile extraction and exploitation.
  • Raising awareness of alternatives to bear bile, including herbal and synthetic products, which are readily available, affordable and effective.
  • Working with local organizations to urge governments to live up to their international commitments to protect bears and other wild animals.
A bear used in the bile industry, South Korea (Photo: Green Korea United)

How you can help

Support our work to end the bear bile industry

With your support, we can stop bears being subjected to a lifetime of pain and distress in the bear bile industry.

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Changing the world, together — Latest campaign news and blogs:

After 13 years of pain and suffering in captivity, a group of Asiatic black bears have been rescued from the horrific abuse of bear bile farming.

Since 2005, World Animal Protection has been working with our partner Education for Nature (ENV) to end bear farming in Vietnam. We’re working with national and local governments to change and strengthen laws protecting bears and raising public awareness.

We’re a huge step closer to ending the country’s bear bile industry, which involves painfully extracting bile from bears for use in traditional medicine.

Bear bile farming is one of the cruellest abuses of animals in the world and is of dubious medicinal value. Read our blog by Gilbert Sape, head of our bears and traditional medicine campaign.

Countries that keep captive bears for traditional medicine must follow this positive example to end the captive breeding of bears for their bile.

Together, we can create lasting change to prevent the severe pain and psychological distress suffered by bears in the bear bile industry.

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