years ago this April, Jill Robinson first walked onto a bear bile farm. On that day in April 1993, Jill could have walked away, but she chose to act and do what she could. Today, you also have a choice. If everyone reading this donated just US$20, it would pay for the care of over 150 bears at our China sanctuary for a full year. Please help us celebrate 20 years of progress. Donate US$20 today (or whatever you can afford).
Vietnam’s traditional medicine doctors opposed to bear bile farming, says new survey
29 November 2010
93% of Vietnam’s traditional medicine practitioners oppose bear bile farming
76% have never prescribed bear bile
57% of bear bile poisoning cases reported have resulted in the death of the patient
Ninety three per cent of Vietnam’s traditional medicine practitioners are opposed to bear bile farming and 76 per cent have never prescribed bear bile, according to a survey of 152 traditional medicine practitioners in Vietnam carried out by Animals Asia Foundation.
Twenty four per cent of practitioners surveyed have prescribed bear bile to treat medical conditions ranging from bruises, fever, poor blood circulation, and cirrhosis. The responses suggest however that bear bile is not safe for human consumption with respondents reporting seven cases of bear bile poisoning, four of which (57 per cent) had resulted in the death of the patient.
Respondents commented that bear bile is expensive, poor quality and not scientifically proven. Thirty-nine herbal alternatives to bear bile were identified by the traditional medicine practitioners, with 45 per cent naming the bear bile plant (Cay mat gau). Animals Asia is aware of 54 herbal alternatives that can be used instead of bear bile in China.
Dr Nguyen Xuan Huong, Chairman of the Traditional Medicine Association of Vietnam, who holds the title of People's Doctor, the highest ranking position in the country's medical profession has commented that bear bile does not have a prominent role in traditional medicine with only a handful of around 1500 remedies containing bear bile.
Jill Robinson MBE, Founder and CEO of Animals Asia commented:
“With so many alternatives to bear bile why are these miserable bears suffering in cages, and continuing to have their bile removed in what is an illegal industry in Vietnam? No-one will die from the lack of bear bile and, ironically, it seems that people are now becoming sick and even dying from taking it.”
Tuan Bendixsen, Vietnam Director, Animals Asia commented:
“This survey shows what we have known to be true for a long time, that people who keep bears and extract and sell their bile can’t use traditional medicine as the reason for this practice. Traditional medicine practitioners have clearly rejected the use of bear bile.”
Bear bile farming has been illegal in Vietnam since 1992 though people are allowed to keep bears as pets. While owners claim bears are not milked, it is widely known that bear farming is a thriving industry. According to government figures released in 2005, there are 4,190 bears on farms, and 1,453 bear farmers.