11 October 2012, 03:43AM
Last Friday, we received some shocking news. Animals Asia was handed an official eviction notice from the Ministry of Defence stating that our bear sanctuary, our home for the bears, had to leave Tam Dao National Park.
Having previously failed to have us evicted through a smear campaign, the director of the park has, it seems, used his influence to convince the Department of Defence to declare the site an area of strategic importance and therefore unsuitable as a rescue facility. This claim, of course, is outrageous and holds no substance at all.
If enforced, the eviction order would mean our entire sanctuary – including all 104 bears – would have to move to a new rescue facility. It would mean putting traumatised bears that have been rescued from bile farms back into cages and keeping them there until we have found and built suitable facilities elsewhere.
Many of these bears are disabled in some way, even blind or missing limbs, and it has taken many months for them to recover enough to be able to go outside and to begin to trust humans again. The thought of having to put them back into metal holding cages - even temporarily - after all they have been through already, is heartbreaking for us all. The thought of telling nearly 80 staff members that their jobs are gone is also just too horrible to contemplate.
And why does the park director want us to leave? So that a tourism park and hotels can be built there instead – by a company that is part-owned by his daughter.
After working so hard for so many years to build a relationship with the authorities, and having signed an agreement with the Vietnamese government in 2005 to build the sanctuary at Tam Dao and go ahead with the rescue of bears from bile farms, this latest move is devastating. How can this one man wield so much power? How can a project authorised and approved by the Prime Minister himself now be overturned? What sort of precedent does this set for anyone wanting to invest in Vietnam – whether a charity or business – when an agreement signed by the PM is simply not worth the paper it’s written on?
The only way that this injustice can be stopped is if the Prime Minister of Vietnam overturns the eviction. We need your help like never before. Please email the Prime Minister and appeal to his sense of justice and compassion. Don’t let the greed of one man damage the years of hard work that has gone into the sanctuary and our campaign to end bear bile farming.
Read the full story here. Then please help stop the eviction. Send a letter and sign our petition.
You have always been here for the bears – the progress we’ve seen in both China and Vietnam to end bear bile farming has seen so much success as we continue fighting against an industry of cruelty and deceit – but never did we think we would be at war with those who were charged with protecting us. Please make your voices heard and show the Prime Minister of Vietnam that his honourable and compassionate decision will be applauded by people across the world.
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