Teddy Bear – Public urged to reject using bear bile and help end bear farming in Vietnam

Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV) has released a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) video urging people to abandon the outdated practice of using bear bile as a medical remedy.

The PSA features a 5-year-old girl who receives advice from her father after she mistakenly believes bear bile can cure her sick dolls. After her father tells her that people use modern medicine nowadays and that using bear bile causes harm to bears, the little girl comforts her bear toy, understanding that the cruel practice only causes pain and suffering.

Demand for bear bile is the driving force perpetuating bear bile farming in Vietnam, an industry which poses a threat to wild bear conservation efforts. Many Vietnamese people still believe that bear bile is a miracle medicine and opt for using this traditional remedy as opposed to other modern medicines proven to be more effective, accessible, and inexpensive.

Over the last 13 years, NGO coalition partners, in collaboration with the Vietnamese government, have achieved substantial progress in the campaign to end bear bile farming through concerted efforts to target better enforcement, improve monitoring systems, strengthen laws and policy, and reduce consumer demand. The number of bears on bear farms has dramatically decreased to approximately 800 bears as of October 2018, compared to more than 4,300 bears documented at hundreds of farms in 2005. Bear bile has fallen out of favor amongst Vietnamese consumers. According to an ENV study published in 2015, there has been a 61% decrease in bear bile demand since 2009. This year, many bear farm owners have given up their bear bile businesses and dozens of bears have been transferred to rescue centers; further signaling that the end is in sight for bear bile farming in Vietnam.

“We are fast becoming a modern country now and times have changed,” says ENV Vice Director Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung. “However, there is a lot of work to do in order to bring about a complete end to this dying bear bile industry.”

Mrs. Dung remains confident that with the active engagement of the public and strengthened efforts of the government, this cruel and illegal business will soon perish, securing a brighter future for Vietnam’s wild bears.

“With numerous effective alternatives that modern medicine has to offer, the public, as people representative of a modern, forward thinking society, can help lend a hand to end bear bile farming for good in Vietnam, by avoiding any use of bear bile and encouraging others to join the fight for our bears and Vietnam’s future,” says Dung.

Mrs. Dung listed three practical ways that the public can help protect bears:
Do not consume bear bile or bear products.
Report crimes involving the sale or trade of bear bile and bear products to local authorities or to ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline, 1800-1522.
Help educate others not to consume bear bile and bear products.

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