New bear sanctuary will be the end of bear bile farming in Vietnam

Black bear hanging from a wooden playground, animal news
Rescued bear Goldie at Animals Asia sanctuary, credit: Animals Asia

Animal welfare organization Animals Asia announced on Tuesday that it will create a huge bear sanctuary in Vietnam for the remaining 310 bile bears in the country. 

In 1997, bear bile farming was declared illegal in Vietnam. Since then, Animals Asia has been rescuing the remaining bears on bile farms. 

Their current bear rescue centre in Tam Dao is approaching its full capacity, and they will create a 12-hectare sanctuary in Bach Ma that will have space for all remaining bile bears.

“Once the last bear is saved, this cruelty will be history for Vietnam and set a precedent for other countries in the region to follow,” Animals Asia said. “This is a monumental step in biodiversity since this cruel practice has been pushing moon and sun bears towards extinction in the country.”

Bear bile farming
The liver produces bile which is stored in the gallbladder. Some people believe that bear bile can be used to treat liver diseases. Even though there are effective herbal and synthetic alternatives, bile farming continues in some Asian countries.

To extract bile from a bear, the animal’s skin is cut, and a tube is inserted in his gallbladder. It leaves the bear scarred and in terrible pain. 

In these bile farms, bears are kept in small steel cages where they can’t sit up straight or turn around. They receive little food and water and are poorly treated. In some cases, bear cubs are caught as cubs and kept in such conditions for up to 30 years. 

Organizations that rescue bile bears always see starved and dehydrated animals with deformed or missing body parts. Animals Asia has even seen old or sick bears, who can’t produce bile anymore, left to die in their cages.

Animals Asia is supported by many celebrities, including Dame Judi Dench, Ricky Gervais, James Cromwell, Stephen Fry, Peter Egan, Kesha, Jimmi Simpson, Rick Wakeman, Tara Buck, Torrey DeVitto, Marina Squerciati, and conservationist Dr Jane Goodall.

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