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WSPA launches new website to educate Traditional Asian Medicine users on bear farming
More than 12,000 endangered Asiatic black bears are cruelly confined in bear farms, facilities at which many are kept in tiny cages and their bile is regularly extracted and sold for use in Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM). WSPA has encouraged traditional medicine groups worldwide to support a statement agreeing that there are good herbal alternatives to bear bile - 71 traditional Asian medicine associations from eight countries have already expressed their support. The letters sent to retailers will include a link for retailers to learn more about bear farming and obtain a template letter (in English or Chinese) that they can use when contacting Chinese companies about their bear bile policies.

WSPA urges Vietnam to stay on track to end bears suffering in bear farms
The fate of 80 illegally held and endangered Asiatic Black bears hangs in the balance as Vietnamese Authorities decide whether or not to remove them from cruel bear farms. In 2005 Vietnam announced their intention to phase out bear farming and introduced a law that stated any bears found without microchips in bear farms will be confiscated. Gosling added “An alarming new discovery has caused us even more concern as there seems to be a growing tourist industry around bear farming in the Quang Ninh province with tourists visiting the cruel farms to consume bear bile and meat and see demonstrations of the extraction process.

Korea displays commitment to end bear farming
The approval of this proposal is a compelling sign that the Korean government recognizes the need to end bear farming. Green Korea United and WSPA aim to work with officials from the Ministry of Environment to ensure the research project obtains all the evidence needed and that the research phase is completed as quickly as possible. A logical next step to this proposal would be to establish a ban on captive breeding of bears, meaning that no new bears will be born into a life of suffering on Korean bear farms. WSPA would like to see this happen as soon as possible and we hope to work with government officials for this.

More good news for Vietnam's bears
After lengthy consultation with WSPA, the Vietnamese Government has introduced improved legislation for the protection and management of captive bears in Vietnam. This is a great sign that the government is sticking to its commitment to phase out bear bile farms in Vietnam and ensure that no more bears are introduced into this cruel industry. In a landmark agreement last year, the government of Vietnam signed a Memorandum of Understanding with WSPA and began to gradually phase out bear bile farming in their country. The new regulations aim to further protect Vietnam‘s national bear population from rampant hunting for their galls and other organs.

Major partnership to stop bear farming in Asia
The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is delighted to announce a new partnership with the Calvin Ayre Foundation, which has agreed to support WSPA’s campaign to end the cruel practice of farming Asian bears for their bile. Bear bile is believed to have medicinal properties, and since the 1980s bile has been extracted from live bears kept on bear farms. For animal welfare reasons alone, WSPA believes that the practice of bear farming should be phased out completely. Its use is also unnecessary because there are a large number of equally effective synthetic and herbal alternatives to bear bile.

South Korean government to consider ending bear farming
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. Even bear farmers in South Korea acknowledge that their farms are losing money and they are prepared to consider a phase out. 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. 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.

Microchip project enables new life for farmed bear
An Asiatic black bear held illegally on a bear bile farm is on his way to a sanctuary today, thanks to a WSPA-funded microchipping and monitoring program. In 2005, the Vietnamese government banned the extraction of bile from bears in farms and outlawed the trading of bile products, a major step towards closing this unnecessary industry for good. Thanks to the new laws, the microchipped bear population would no longer suffer the painful process of bile extraction. Despite the government’s commitment to phasing out bear farming, the sad reality in Vietnam today is that the enforcement of laws against bear bile needs to be strengthened.

Listen to an interview with WSPA's bear expert!
Listen to an interview with WSPA's bear expert! Listen as renowned international bear expert and WSPA Wildlife Advisor Victor Watkins discusses his unique and exciting work rescuing bears around the world. Watkins discussed his and WSPA's work to rescue bears from cruelty and exploitation, as well as the welfare needs still facing bears today. Watkins also talked about WSPA's continuing work to bring an end to some of the cruelest practices on earth including bear baiting, bear farming, and the exploitation of captive bears for entertainment purposes. This is a great chance for supporters who are unable to attend Watkins' United States speaking tour to hear our bear expert live!

Balkasar open for bears: Pakistan’s new WSPA-funded bear sanctuary
The sanctuary will also provide a refuge for the remaining 60-70 Asian black bears in Pakistan who are still being used in bear baiting, a cruel and illegal blood sport. Balkasar Sanctuary sits away from flood plains and close to the country’s capital, Islamabad. Its opening demonstrates the dedication and commitment of the BRC and Kund Park staff who - despite losing their homes and possessions, like so many Pakistanis - have remained committed to the cause. Many of the staff members and their families have even moved to Balkasar to rebuild their lives, as well as the lives of the bears in their care. Those bears will be brought to the Balkasar Sanctuary to live out their lives in a natural and peaceful environment.

WSPA moves new resident to bear sanctuary
The villagers who discovered the bear could trace no signs of its mother and they captured it with a view to sell it in the local market. Maylu was handed to local wildlife officials by the army, and the wildlife department did their best to care for the distressed bear. Talks began at the wildlife department of moving Maylu to a zoo – at this point WSPA heard about Maylu and quickly set the wheels in motion to receive the bear into the renowned Kund Park Bear Sanctuary. Following examination by WSPA veterinary staff the wildlife officials released the bear into WSPA custody and plans were laid to move the bear to Kund Park near the Peshawar region of Pakistan.

Two cubs rescued as 100,000 Vietnamese reject bear bile
WSPA partner Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) recently celebrated two important milestones in its work to protect bears – first, the rescue of two bear cubs and, second, receiving its 100,000th pledge against bear bile use. Bear bile continues to be used in some Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) to treat conditions such as reducing fever, protecting the liver and improving eyesight – despite there being more than 65 herbal alternatives available. Since that time, WSPA has been working in partnership with ENV to help support its public engagement campaign to end the demand for bear bile and close down the bear farming industry for good.

Vietnam bears escape life on “farm” after prolonged battle
Although ENV officers immediately contacted wildlife authorities, who confirmed the illegal incarceration of the bears, the owner’s past as a powerful local official made it difficult to secure their rescue. In the meantime, ENV persuaded a local radio station that was illegally promoting the bear owner’s products to cease its advertisements, and secured the removal of a billboard promoting his bile outside the bear “farm”. Yet it was only in May this year, after three years of ENV’s determined campaigning, that the Nam Dinh People’s Committee ordered officials to persuade the owner to release the bears.

WSPA urges G8 leaders to start serving humane and sustainable farming
Industrial leaders meeting at the G8 summit this week again failed the millions of people around the world who are hardest hit by the current food crisis, failing to recognize the damage done to livelihoods by factory farming. As outlined in our recent report – Industrial Animal Agriculture – Part of the poverty problem –industrial agriculture is not only responsible for the suffering of billions of animals around the world, is also a key part of the poverty problem. Significant environmental and health costs are also created by the countries involved, rather than by the foreign-owned corporations profiting from the goods.

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