Bear bile bears in a cage

China is ready to turn against cruel bear bile industry


Extracting bile from bears for use in traditional Chinese medicine is an inhumane practice. Our survey results show there’s overwhelming support within China to end the bear bile industry – over 97% of Chinese people believe it is very cruel.

The exploitation of captive bears for their bile is one of the worst examples of animal cruelty in the world today. In China tens of thousands of bears are forced to suffer an entire lifetime in captivity simply for their bile, in a cruel and entirely unnecessary industry.

There is no humane way to extract bile from a live bear, and these wild animals will suffer severe pain and psychological distress throughout their lives in captivity.

The research we conducted with AITA Foundation for Animal Protection Beijing. The survey asked 1,800 people across 10 Chinese cities and revealed:

  • Almost 84% of Chinese people hope to see the bear bile industry banned
  • Over 90% of people would be willing to be involved in better protecting bears
  • Over 90% of respondents who had previously purchased or used bear bile stated they would no longer do so in the future, with less than 3% believing that the product is irreplaceable

The results highlighted a growing support for the use of readily available, and humane, herbal and synthetic alternatives.

Emily Reeves, Director of Programmes Asia Pacific at World Animal Protection says: “These results confirm what we have known for many years; the bear bile industry has no place in modern China. The evidence is clear, and it’s no longer a case of if the industry will end, but when. The Government of China has already taken important steps forward to review the bear bile industry. Now, it’s time to start planning its phase out for good.”


A bear is held captive and has its bile extracted for use in traditional Asian medicine

We are committed to ending the needless suffering of bears, and have been working to protect bears for over twenty years; bringing an end to some of the worst cases of exploitation across the world.

In South Korea and Vietnam significant progress has already been made towards the end of the bear bile industry. More than 90% of the captive bear population in South Korea has been sterilised, while numbers of captive bears in Vietnam continue to decline.

Our vision is for China to follow suit. We want to create real and lasting change for bears and help keep them in the wild where they belong.

Find out more about the work we’re doing to protect bears and other wild animals.

These results confirm what we have known for many years; the bear bile industry has no place in modern China.

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