Keeping Moon bears captive and in small cramped quarters to harvest bear bile is very common in Asia. In China this bile is extracted through a tube that is permantly inserted into the bear so that the "farmer" can harvest it whenever possible. Bear bile is considered useful for superstitious medicinal reasons in Asia. In South Korea, the bears are raised till the age of 10 and then slaughtered for their bile to be ‘harvested’. Extraction of bile from live bears is illegal, although it has been discovered that some of that was going on undercover in South Korea also.

As part of the international campaign to end bear farming, WSPA has delivered petitions, including thousands of photos collected via a photo action to the Korean government. They have also applied pressure from other international governments , including the UK Foreign Office Minister in 2011 which provided evidence of the lessons learned from Vietnam (the first government to pledge to end bear farming) to Korea. WSPA has also educated the Korean government about why the practice needs to end.

Recently the Budget Committee of the Korean National Assembly voted through a proposal to prepare measures to end the practice of bear farming through investigation of the current status of bear farming and its management plan. What this means for the bears is that the next logical step to this proposal would be to establish a ban on captive breeding of bears. This means that no new bears will be born into a life of suffering on Korean bear farms. WSPA would like to see this happen as soon as possible and are hoping to work with government officials to achieve this.

"Without the positive action being initiated by the South Korean government, thousands of bears could be born into lives of untold suffering," added Emily Reeves, Director of Programs for WSPA Asia Pacific. "Once this process is complete and bear farming ended in South Korea, the country would be setting a great example for those other countries in Asia where, unfortunately, this cruel practice is still tolerated by governments."

Many thanks to South Korea for taking this important step to end bear bile farming and helping to lead the way for the rest of Asia to hopefully follow soon.

Responses to "South Korea takes steps to end bear bile farming"

  1. Maryda614 says:

    Thank you South Korea for your show of humanity let us hope other countries in the region follow your excellent lead

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