South Korea shows will to end bear farming – Bikya Masr

by Symptom Advice on January 29, 2012

South Korea’s Budget Committee of National Assembly recently voted in favor of a proposal indicative of South Korea’s will to end bear farming by investigating its current status and establishing ways to end the practice.

Bear farming is a practice utilized for the animal’s bile, a bitter yellow fluid found in its gallbladder that is popular in Chinese Medicine for ailments ranging from hangovers to liver disease.

Bear farming became popular in the 1980’s as a means to keep up with demand for the expensive commodity, a product fetching thousands of dollars for a single gallbladder.

Milking the bear’s bile, a process that requires a permanent hole to be formed in the bear’s abdomen and gallbladder so the bile can drip freely, is a popular method for extraction.

The bears are often put in what are referred to as ‘crush’ cages, cages that are so small the bear can barely move and thus not attack the farmer. South Korea and China are the only nations where bear farming is legal, Vietnam having made plans to phase out the practice beginning in 2005. regardless, Vietnam still produces bear bile largely for tourist demand.

South Korea outlawed extraction of bile from live bears in 1992, but currently allows bears to be farmed and slaughtered after age 10 as to harvest their gallbladder for bile.

The bears have been reported to be living in neglected undersized cages with a variety of physical and psychological symptoms such as malnourishment, lesions, missing limbs, rocking, pacing, self hugging, banging on bars, chewing on their paws, and other visible signs of distress.

The approved proposal from Korea’s Budget Committee of National Assembly has a budget of 200 million won (approx. US$175,000) to determine the current situations with bear farms and design ways to end the business.

Though animal advocates are celebrating Korea’s progress in ending the practice, China will continue bear farming and milking bile from live bears. China came under scrutiny in August 2011 when reports surfaced of a mother killing her cub and then herself to save them from a life of being farmed for bile.

After hearing her cub howl in fear, the mother reportedly broke out of her cage and, after failed attempts to remove his restraints, hugged her child until it was smothered to death. she then immediately ran head first into a wall, killing herself.


Section: Animals, East Asia, Latest News

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