Bear rescue: we help save five bears from the cruel bear bile industry in Vietnam

28 August 2018

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

The bear bile industry

The exploitation of captive bears for their bile is one of the worst examples of animal cruelty in the world today.

For over a decade, these five bears lived in small cages in Vietnam’s Tieng Giang Province.

They endured severe pain and psychological distress and were starved and dehydrated, all to extract a fluid in the gallbladder used in traditional medicine.

The conditions they were kept in also resulted in the bears suffering from multiple diseases.

The bears in cages before their release in Vietnam’s Tieng Giang Province. Bears kept for the bile industry are often kept in small, barren cages like this one.

In Vietnam, while it is legal to ‘keep’ bears, it’s illegal to extract bile from live animals or to breed bears for commercial purposes.

But sadly, this law is poorly enforced, and there are an estimated 780 captive bears living in bear bile farms in Vietnam.

The rescue

The farmer holding these five bears was persuaded by our partners, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), supported by us, and local Vietnamese government authorities to release them.

ENV and their partners secured a safe haven for the bears, who are now officially en route to live out their lives at Animals Asia Foundation’s Vietnam bear sanctuary at Tam Dao near Hanoi.

Ending this suffering once and for all

We’ve been working with ENV for over a decade to help end the suffering and exploitation of captive bears in Vietnam. Together, we’re working to ensure no new bears end up in captivity. They should remain in the wild, where they belong.

We are helping the government microchip captive bears so that those illegally taken from the wild can be more easily identified, confiscated and taken to sanctuaries.

A breeding ban for bile bears in Vietnam is also something we are working towards to stop this horrific cycle of abuse.

“We are helping to start moving bears in Vietnam out into safety – it will take them years to recover from the psychological stress and trauma they have endured but we are pleased that these bears will now live their lives in peace and free from harm.”

Free from harm at last

Dr. Karanvir Kukreja, our campaign manager, said: “There is no humane way to extract bile from a live bear, they will suffer severe pain and psychological distress throughout their lives in captivity.

“We are helping to start moving bears in Vietnam out into safety – it will take them years to recover from the psychological stress and trauma they have endured but we are pleased that these bears will now live their lives in peace and free from harm.”

Dung Nguyen, Education for Nature – Vietnam vice director said: “These five bears take us a step closer to our goal to end bear farming in Vietnam - once and for all. Bear farming is now on its last legs and the finish line is in sight.”

Dr Jan Schmidt-Burbach, our global wildlife advisor said: “Bear farming in Asia has a detrimental effect on bears in the wild by sustaining demand for bear bile and bear parts.

“Resources in conservation should go towards directly protecting wild animals and educating consumers about alternatives to products containing wild animal parts."

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"These five bears take us a step closer to our goal to end bear farming in Vietnam - once and for all."
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