Vietnamese star Uyen Linh joined WSPA partner Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) in Hanoi to pledge that she would never use bear bile, and urged others to help put an end to the exploitation of bears.
ENV hosted the celebration in Hanoi to mark the 100,000th pledge received thus far from the public, adding to similar commitments not to consume bear bile made by a growing number of Vietnam’s most popular sports, film, and music celebrities.
The pledge campaign is part of a broader effort by ENV and government and non-government partner organizations, to end bear farming and trade in Vietnam. They aim to bring a stop to the cruel and inhumane practice of extracting bear bile that is widely believed to be threatening wild bear populations, not just in Vietnam, but across Southeast Asia.
Two more bear cubs rescuedMeanwhile, as part of ENV’s campaign to protect bears, they recently rescued two new bear cubs that were reported by the owner via ENV’s WSPA-funded Wildlife Crime Hotline. The bears were confiscated in Son La on the 6th of October, 2011, as little new born cubs that were probably smuggled into Vietnam across the border from Laos. They will join the other bears rescued in September this year, being cared for at the Animals Asia Bear Sanctuary at Tam Dao.
Commitment from Vietnamese Government
“In 2005, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development committed to ending bear farming in Vietnam,” says Tran Viet Hung, Director of Operations at ENV. “ENV supports this commitment and so does the public.”
Hung noted that in addition to the thousands of pledges collected at public events over the past few years, people appear eager to see an end to bear farming, and that this interest comes from all sectors of society including young and old, farmers and businessmen. “It is time to end this. The public expects it as part of our growth and development as a modern nation.”
WSPA has been working in partnership with ENV since 2005, helping support their public engagement campaign to end the demand for bear bile so that this cruel industry can be closed down for good. ENV focuses its efforts on strengthening law enforcement, reducing consumer demand for bear bile, and working with government partners to develop more effective and stronger policies for the protection of bears and other wildlife.
Promoting the alternatives
As WSPA campaigners have pointed out, there are more than 65 herbal alternatives now available. Nonetheless, bear bile continues to be used in some Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) to treat conditions such as reducing fever, protecting the liver, improvement of eyesight, breaking down gallstones, and as an anti-inflammatory.
“Bear farm owners may not pay heed to the voices of animal welfare campaigners, but when 100,000 potential consumers speak out so publicly against their product, the rejection becomes impossible to ignore,” says Ray Mitchell, International Campaigns Director, WSPA.
“100,000 pledges not to use bear bile is a reflection of public attitudes,” says Hung. “But what is important, is that it is also an expression of public willingness to act on their beliefs and help protect bears. We are confident that, with growing public support and a sustained commitment by our government partners, we will prevail.”