In an astounding announcement, the Vietnamese government has agreed to close all bile farms.It is estimated that the move will save around 1000 captive bears from this cruel practice, which drains a digestive fluid from them for use in traditional medicine.
In bile farms bears lead a miserable existence, stuck in tiny cages where they can hardly even turn around. Workers draw their bile with long needles and drain thegallbladder with a catheter, in most cases causing irreversible damage which leaves the animals in agony.Although farming these animals for bile has been technically illegal in Vietnam since 1992, a loophole had enabled dealers to continue their cruel trade.The new agreement, signed on July 19th between the Vietnam Administration of Forestry and the NGO Animals Asia, gives the government the resources they need to put a stop to it once and for all by outlawing owning bears in private households.
The director of the Vietnamese branch of Animals Asia, Tuan Bendixsan,applauded this significant victory on Wednesday:
This historic document ties NGOs and the government of Vietnam to a common goal - the end of bear bile farming in Vietnam. Crucially, the government has agreed to close the loophole that has allowed bile farming to persist for the last decade. By signing this MOU, they have agreed that there can be no bears kept on farms, because as long as they are there, they will suffer extraction.
Rescued bears will be sent to sanctuaries, where they will hopefully be able to recover from their dreadful ordeal.
Although there are still thousands of bears suffering in bile farms in countries such as China (again, despite the country making it illegal), this new agreement marks a victory for bears and animal lovers worldwide, and could cause other countries to follow their example.To find out how you can help, head to the Animals Asia website where you can make a donation, become a volunteer, or even sponsor a bear!
You can also sign the petition to support the ban of barbaric bear bile harvesting in China.
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