Bear bile farm photograph by Danny Bach

Hanoi last in the race to end bear bile farming in Vietnam – urgent action needed


A coalition of organisations including World Animal Protection, Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV) and Four Paws, have renewed fresh calls to the authorities in Hanoi to take decisive action to end bear bile farming in Vietnam in a media briefing held today.

Vietnam’s progress

The Vietnamese government initiated a program aimed at phasing out bear bile farming in the country 17 years ago. In 2005, more than 4,300 captive bears were registered and microchipped as part of an effort to prevent new bears from entering farms. Now only 294 bile bears remain on farms across the country, and 40 provinces have become bear farm-free.

While most of the country has made great progress in ending the cruel practice of bear bile farming, sadly Hanoi is trailing behind. Hanoi remains the biggest bear bile farming hotspot, accounting for 149 bears, or 51% of captive bears in Vietnam.

Bui Thi Ha, Vice Director at ENV said:

“As our capital city, Hanoi should be a leading example in efforts to end bear bile farming in Vietnam for other provinces to follow. Unfortunately, Hanoi trails in last place in this national effort. It is time for Hanoi to shut down bear bile farms and rid our capital city of this cruel and illegal business.”

Gilbert Sape, Global Head of Campaign - Wildlife at World Animal Protection said:

“Since 2005, World Animal Protection has been working closely with the Vietnamese government, authorities, and the Vietnam Bear Coalition to ensure an end to the bear bile farming industry in Vietnam. In that time, we’ve seen great strides being made by numerous provinces, but Hanoi consistently lags in its efforts to follow suit. Ultimately, ending bear bile farming in Hanoi is essential to ending bear farming in Vietnam”.

What next?

During the briefing, the Vietnam Bear Coalition, comprised of Education for Nature - Vietnam (ENV), FOUR PAWS, and World Animal Protection, also proposed actions that the Hanoi government can take to ensure that bear bile farming in Hanoi comes to an end, including:

  • Strengthening bear bile farm monitoring and inspections
  • Taking immediate and decisive action if violations or illegal bears are found on bear farms by confiscating bears
  • Ensuring strict prosecution and punishment for serious violations
  • Enacting a breeding ban on private bear farms
  • Convincing bear bile business owners to voluntarily transfer their bears to authorities without compensation
  • Promoting herbal and other humane alternatives to bear bile

What about the bears?

Multiple bear sanctuaries, including FOUR PAWS’ international gold-standard BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, have been set up to accomodate farmed bears, providing them with a species-specific and semi-natural environment to live out the remainder of their lives.

Hanoi last in the race to end bear bile farming

Ioana Dungler, Director Wild Animal Department at FOUR PAWS International said:

“In their new home in BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, the rescued bears can now follow their natural instincts. After a life in horrible captive conditions, they rediscover a species-appropriate life, and that’s what we can provide the captive bile bears of Hanoi. We look forward to the day when Hanoi can be declared the next bear farm-free province in Vietnam.”

With support and decisive action by the Hanoi PC and Phuc Tho PC, a bear farm-free future could be achieved in Hanoi in only a few years.

Read our report; Cruel Cures about bear bile farming

With support and decisive action by the Hanoi PC and Phuc Tho PC, a bear farm-free future could be achieved in Hanoi in only a few years.

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