Vietnam’s National Bear Week highlights importance of ending the country’s cruel bear bile industry

Ending the cruel bear bile industry in Vietnam


We’re microchipping more bears in Vietnam, which will help end the awful practice of extracting bear bile for traditional medicine

Last month was National Bear Week in Vietnam, an annual event to raise awareness of the protection of bears. During the week-long initiative, co-organised by Four Paws and Education for Nature Vietnam (ENV), we continued our drive to end the cruel practice of keeping bears in farms to extract their bile. This process is used for traditional medicine. 

In 2017 we microchipped 230 bears in Vietnam. 

This is an essential part of our work to microchip all captive bears to make sure no new bears enter the bear bile industry. Since we started microchipping, among other interventions by organisations working in Vietnam, the number of bears in captivity has dropped by 69%. In 2005 4,300 bears were kept in captivity – in 2017 that has been reduced to 1,350.

What is the bear bile industry?

Bear bile is often used in traditional medicine in Vietnam. To fuel this trade, bears are kept captive in farms, where their bile is painfully extracted from their abdomen. These bears were illegally taken from the wild, most as cubs.

Bears are kept in tiny cages, causing them severe pain and psychological trauma.

Their bile is painfully extracted to be sold to consumers in Vietnam and other parts of Asia.


What is microchipping and how does it help bears?

We’ve been microchipping captive bears captive in the bear bile industry.

Microchipping is a way of tracking and monitoring bears. It means bear owners must comply with laws that control bear bile production.

Local Vietnamese Forest Protection Departments can monitor the number of animals kept in farms. If officials find an unchipped bear, it’s likely to have been caught illegally. In these cases, we work with Vietnamese authorities to take these bears to sanctuaries where they can recover and live a pain-free life.

By stopping more bears being forced into these farms, we are putting an end to the bear bile industry for good. 

Read more about our work helping bears.

These bears were illegally taken from the wild, most as cubs.

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