Campaign to stop illegal bear bile exports from China to Korea

27 June 2012

A public awareness campaign to end the cross-border trade of bear bile from China to South Korea will be launched on Wednesday 27 June 2012 at a ceremony in Seoul, South Korea.

This is a jointly-organised campaign by Animals Asia and the Korean Animal Welfare Association (KAWA) to inform tourists and travel agencies in South Korea that bringing bear bile into the country from China, is illegal.

According to information from local travel agencies, 300,000 South Korean tourists visit bear bile farms in China every year. A significant 30 percent purchase bear bile and bring it back to South Korea, despite the import being illegal (Domestic Import Tariff – Section 269).

The campaign poster aimed at South Korean tourists and travel agencies.

Animals Asia and KAWA will work with local travel agencies to inform the public that they should not purchase bear bile and bring it into South Korea. The campaign will discourage tour companies from including trips to bear bile farms on their itineraries and will encourage tourists to refuse to purchase bear bile should they be taken to a bear farm.

Hyecho Adventure Travel – a South Korean travel agency – will take part in the launch ceremony and join the campaign by informing their clients of the illegality of importing bear bile. They will promote the rescue and protection of bears.

Travel Times Korea, a weekly trade newspaper for the travel industry distributed to all travel agencies in South Korea, and Travie Magazine, a monthly travel magazine widely read by the public, will join the ceremony and provide free advertising for the campaign.

Animals Asia and KAWA will also approach other travel companies in South Korea, providing leaflets and posters, and inviting them to join the campaign.

Toby Zhang, China External Affairs Director, Animals Asia commented: 

“Bear bile farmers in China are selling large amounts of bear bile to tourists from South Korea every year. Many tourists are unaware that it is illegal for them to take the bile back to South Korea with them. They also don't know about the cruelty involved in farming bears, or the concerns about the safety of farmed bile. Without these sales, China’s bear farming industry would be much reduced. We are hopeful that this campaign will help to end bear bile farming in China.”

Leaflet about bear bile farming in China for distribution to travel agencies.