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Historic vote to end global bear bile industry

Sep 17, 2012

WSPA congratulates the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) for voting for a motion to end bear bile farming at its World Congress on Friday, September 14.
"Bears suffer immense cruelty and pain as a result of being kept captive in bear bile industry conditions – it is time for this unnecessary suffering to end," said Chris Gee, External Affairs Manager at WSPA. "The IUCN made the right decision and millions of WSPA supporters and animal lovers around the world will welcome this exciting news."
Because it’s difficult to breed wild animals such as bears in captivity, WSPA repeatedly sees evidence that bears on "farms" have been stolen from the wild across a number of countries. After marathon debates throughout the week, an overwhelming 98 percent of those governments and conservation groups who voted for the motion showed they clearly understand the urgent need to stop this inhumane treatment of bears.

What does the motion achieve for bears?

WSPA welcomes the fact that expert conservationists and governments are joining animal welfare NGOs in calling for an end to this cruel and unnecessary industry. The new IUCN motion calls for:

  • Countries to close down bear bile farming and extraction facilities
  • Capping the growth of the industry in China
  • For those who back the bear bile industry and claim it doesn’t affect wild bear numbers, to provide independent scientific evidence to the next IUCN World Conservation Congress.

The IUCN also specifically encouraged the governments of South Korea and Vietnam to continue efforts toward ending bear farming.

South Korea

Global attention will now focus on action to back this almost unanimous IUCN directive. WSPA and its partner Green Korea United now urge the Environment Minister, Yoo Young Sook, to boldly announce the government’s plan to end the bear bile industry in South Korea.
We hope that in the coming months, South Korea will:

  • Allocate sufficient budget
  • Provide a guaranteed timetable for the planned phase out the bear bile industry in South Korea

Such an announcement will leave an impressive "green" legacy from the IUCN 2012 congress hosts and also demonstrate progressive and sustainable global leadership.
"Taking action to phase out the bear bile industry is essential to protect existing and future generations of bears from this completely unnecessary and cruel practice that is damaging to nature," said Gee.

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