For decades, Asiatic black bears have been held captive on Vietnamese bear bile farms so that owners may extract their bile, a traditional medicine. In 2005, the Vietnamese government, in collaboration with World Animal Protection (WAP) and Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), began to crack down on the illegal exploitation of bears and selling of bear bile. At that time, more than 4,300 bears were recorded on Vietnamese bear bile farms.
After years of hard work, the number of bile bears has decreased to ~380 bears by the end of 2020. Additionally, 38 of Vietnam’s 63 provinces are now free of bile bears. However, while many provinces in Vietnam have taken great strides to become bile bear-free in recent years, Hanoi (and especially Hanoi’s Phuc Tho district) remains the biggest bear bile farming hotspot in the country. In Phuc Tho district alone, 152 bears are being kept for their bile by 27 farmers, making up more than 40% of Vietnam’s total captive bile bears and 90% of Hanoi’s bile bears.
The bear farming situation in Phuc Tho is a dark smear on the image of Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital city, both on a national and international scale. Now, the residents of Phuc Tho are calling for decisive action from authorities and bear owners to end this outdated and cruel practice.
Hanoi must not be left behind as the rest of the country ends bear farming! It’s time for Vietnam’s capital to set an example and take lead as the country’s guiding light to end bear bile farming in Vietnam once and for all.