Sep 16, 2010
Following the tabling of a bill on September 15 by National Assembly member Hong Heedeok, the South Korean Parliament began the process that could result in the phase out of South Korea’s bear farming industry.
Chris Gee, manager of WSPA’s campaign to end Bear Farming said, ‘This is a historic opportunity for South Korea to adopt a policy to end bear farming. Since 2005 WSPA have worked in partnership with Green Korea United (GKU) to raise awareness of bears’ suffering, build public support, promote the alternatives to bear bile and lobby decision makers within South Korea. The world is willing South Korea to do the right thing by bringing this cruel and unnecessary industry to an end as soon as possible.’
The bill is now expected to be considered by the Environment and Labour Committee as well as other relevant Ministries. Subject to securing enough support, this process could see South Korea putting a policy in place to end bear farming by the end of 2010.
Right now more than 1,400 bears suffer on bear farms in South Korea. These bears are confined to cramped, barren cages until the age of 10, when they are then slaughtered for their bile, which is then used in Traditional Asian Medicine. This industry is still legal under South Korean law.
The captive conditions greatly restrict the bears’ movements and have a terrible impact on their wellbeing. WSPA has witnessed bears rocking and pacing in their small cages, and seen the severe wounds, sores and stress caused by confining them.
Academics, experts and Traditional Asian Medicine advocates in South Korea agree that there are many readily available herbal and synthetic alternatives to bear bile. Even bear farmers in South Korea acknowledge that their farms are losing money and they are prepared to consider a phase out.
Thousands of South Koreans have joined GKU campaigns, and in the last four weeks over 85,000 WSPA supporters around the world have signed up to support an end to this industry.
Many thanks to everyone who took action and showed their support for a bear-farming phase out in South Korea. If you haven’t yet had a chance to complete the action there is still time for you to make a positive difference. Please visit WSPA’s South Korea supporter action.
We will continue to keep you updated on progress. As South Korea prepares to celebrate its Thanksgiving Day next week, we also give thanks to the South Korean government for tackling this issue head-on.