The cruel practice of bear bile farming was once thought to help preserve the bear population, but it has been proven to have the opposite effect. Although the practice had been declared illegal in Vietnam, a loophole in the law allowed the farming to continue. With Vietnam not having the resources to build rescue centres and care for the animals, households were allowed to house bears on the government’s behalf, having the understanding that they would honour the law of not extracting bile from the animals.
As you can guess, these households didn’t keep their promise to abstain from their previous practices and have continued bear bile farming until now. However, this loophole was recently closed by the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) – an outlined agreement between animal welfare NGO Animals Asia and the Vietnam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) to work together to rescue the remaining approximate 1000 bears still caged on farms across Vietnam.
On July 19th, 2017, the MOU was announced at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. It was signed by Mr. Cao Chi Cong, the deputy general director of the Vietnam Administration of Forestry and Jill Robinson MBE, the CEO and founder of animal protection group Animals Asia. This agreement gives the government the responsibility to ensure that no bears will be kept in households and that the approximate 1,000 bears currently held in captivity around the country will be moved to sanctuaries. Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director Tuan Bendixsen said:
“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.”
As a result of this inhumane practice ending, the bears in captivity will finally experience freedom. They will be able to live longer, happier lives in the sanctuaries and experience human kindness for the first time. Having the MOU set in place, Vietnam is soon to see a more ethical future.
Animals Asia will be involved with the rescue of these bears and they need resources more than ever to ensure these bears can be rescued, transported safely, treated with critical medical care and provided freedom and enrichment in their future forever home in one of their bear sanctuaries. Learn more here.