Animals Asia welcomes the closing of legal loophole in China which should ensure greater protection for wild Asiatic black bears - better known as moon bears.
Under the new interpretation of the law anyone caught eating certain endangered species or buying them for other purposes could face 10 years in jail. This would include their use in traditional medicine.
The listed species include moon bears alongside the likes of pandas and pangolins.
Reports suggest this will mean those caught taking moon bears from the wild will face stiffer penalties. It’s hoped that this will also boost efforts to stop the trafficking of bears from neighbouring Vietnam.
It’s believed it won’t, however, offer protection to existing farmed bears or bears bred in captivity as the law stands. More than 10,000 bears are currently being kept in tiny cages in China and face daily, painful bile extractions for use in traditional medicine.
Animals Asia founder Jill Robinson sees the new law as part of an ongoing process of increased animal protection legislation that will eventually see bear bile farming made illegal.
“This follows recent changes in the law that made it no longer compulsory in China to test cosmetics on animals. There are increased signs that the government is prepared to use the law to safeguard animals and in doing so they are reflecting a changing China.
“It’s another piece in the legal jigsaw that will hopefully help us work towards bear bile farming being outlawed. In addition China’s animal lovers have long been requesting laws that can be used to combat animal cruelty. ”