Backwards in Time

Education for Nature – Vietnam’s (ENV) latest video release, Backwards in Time, takes viewers on a reverse journey to highlight to consumers exactly where bear bile originates. The innovative Public Service Announcement (PSA) video traces the path of a vial of bear bile from end-user all the way back to the bear farm and the cruel and illegal process of bear bile extraction.


Opening with a mother giving her daughter bear bile to treat a bruise, the PSA video takes viewers along every step of the way, from the girl’s home to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) shop where the bear bile is purchased, and finally back to the bear farm where the bile is extracted. Backwards in Time not only shows the entire journey in reverse, but also demonstrates that bear bile usage is an old-fashioned and outdated habit which deserves to be consigned to history.

“If there is no demand for bear bile, there is no reason for private citizens to keep bears,” says ENV Vice Director Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung. “We will continue to encourage bear owners to surrender their bears and give them a better life at one of Vietnam’s three international gold standard rescue centers.”

Dung noted that most Vietnamese are now turning their backs on bear bile consumption in favor of scientifically proven modern medicines that are more effective, readily accessible, and inexpensive.

Consumer demand in Vietnam is credited with having perpetuated the cruel and illegal bear bile industry and has threatened the very survival of bears in the wild in Vietnam and neighboring countries.

In 2005, when the bear bile industry was at its peak, more than 4,300 bears were recorded at hundreds of bear farms throughout the country. Today, the number of bears has dwindled to around 700 thanks to a reduction in consumer demand and the continued efforts over the past 15 years by ENV, our NGO coalition partners, and collaborating government agencies, aimed at bringing bear bile farming to an end in Vietnam.

According to an ENV study in 2015, the demand for bear bile among Vietnamese consumers witnessed a considerable downturn, with consumer demand and interest in bear bile TCM dropping by 61% over a period of roughly five years. However, a more remarkable shift in the bear farming industry is illustrated by the fact that bear owners are recognizing the need to end the industry and increasing numbers are surrendering their bears to authorities. Both developments indicate that bear farming is rapidly becoming a thing of the past

In order to put the bear bile industry to rest permanently, it is imperative that the public commit to stopping the consumption of bear products, which inevitably impacts wild bear populations, as well as encouraging and educating others to be aware and take action by reporting any suspected wildlife crimes to ENV’s Wildlife Crime Hotline 1800-1522.

This PSA is one part of the long-running campaign by ENV in collaboration with its partners, World Animal Protection, Four Paws, and the Vietnamese government to expedite an end to bear farming in Vietnam and to protect wild bears in nature.

The new PSA will be broadcast on both national and provincial TV channels throughout Vietnam in the coming months. Viewers can also watch it online on ENV’s YouTube Channel. The video has been made possible thanks to ENV’s partnership with World Animal Protection.

For more details about ENV’s campaign to end bear farming and trading, please visit: http://bit.ly/bearprog as well as our Prison Break Bears appeal page: https://www.gofundme.com/prison-break-bears-vietnam