Bad "medicine" must end for good

August 16 2018

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.

Top image: A bear at a farm near Bien Hoa in Dong Nai Province looks through the bars in it's cage during a bear microchipping session near Bien Hoa in Dong Nai Province. This Asiatic black bear has been kept captive in a very small cage and used for bile until the extraction was made illegal in Vietnam in 2005. The Bears at this farm do not have names as most people in Vietnam do not name their bears. World Animal Protection helped the Forestry Department to microchip bears like this one to ensure no new bears enter the now illegal industry.

In Vietnam, bear bile is used in traditional medicine. To fuel this sick trade, bears are kept captive in farms, where their bile is painfully extracted from their abdomen. They’re kept in tiny cages, causing them severe pain and psychological trauma. For some bears this can mean 20 years of torture – unless they succumb to infection, tumours, or self-inflicted wounds. Bears often moan and rock due to extreme anxiety; and many have broken teeth from biting on the bars of their cages.

The intense suffering inflicted by this industry is also completely unnecessary – plentiful and inexpensive synthetic and herbal alternatives to bear bile are readily available.

Education to help end bear bile farming

Our partner, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), has produced a compelling two-minute commercial entitled “Bear Teacher”. It’s the story of a well-meaning primary school teacher who goes to the aid of a student who’s bruised his arm. She applies bear bile in the false belief it will help heal the boy. After class, he invites the teacher to see what happens at an illegal bear bile farm nearby. 

Chipping away at the problem: One. Bear. At. A. Time.

We’re helping the government microchip bears in captivity for tracking and monitoring. Microchipping all captive bears stops new bears entering the system and will, ultimately, put an end to the bear bile industry for good. With our support, our local partner ENV attempts to confiscate any new unchipped bears and transport them to sanctuaries where they can recover and live a pain-free life. In 2017, we microchipped 230 bears in Vietnam.

Public opinion is shifting: bear bile use in Vietnam has dropped by more than 60% since 2005.

“Our efforts since 2005 have achieved substantial progress and success, but this fight is not over until every bear is protected and the bear bile industry is finished for good in Vietnam." – Karanvir Kukreja, Campaign Manager, World Animal Protection

This reduction is a clear sign that, together, we’re creating a real impact for abused bears in Vietnam. Your continued support is vital in the fight to end cruelty to bears and crush the bear bile industry once and for all.

Image credit: World Animal Protection/Tim Gerard Barker

This fight is not over until every bear is protected and the bear bile industry is finished for good in Vietnam
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