Vietnamese school children plant the seeds of a bear bile farm free future

06 June 2018

Pupils open garden of herbal alternatives to bear bile to fight animal cruelty and raise awareness of wildlife conservation. 

With the Vietnamese government having formally pledged to end bear bile farming and transfer every bile farm bear to sanctuary by 2022, steps are being taken to ensure the public is aware of herbal alternatives to the traditional medicine.

Traditional medicine practitioners in Vietnam have identified at least 32 herbal alternatives to bear bile including cinnamon, frangipani, mugwort and red-rooted sage, capable of treating illnesses such as swelling and joint pains.

On May 23, students from the Nguyen Binh Khiem-Cau Giay High School cleared weeds, erected educational signposts and painted features of the Herbal Alternatives to Bear Bile Garden which will serve as an educational hub for those seeking herbal remedies which don’t harm animals.

The Vietnam Traditional Medicine Association has previously worked with Animals Asia to publish a book of herbal alternatives to bear bile and has publicly vowed to end all prescriptions for bear bile by registered traditional medicine practitioners by 2020.


Animals Asia’s Vietnam Director, Tuan Bendixsen said:

“Ending bear bile farming in Vietnam has to be tackled holistically from all angles and with everyone’s buy in. After years of hard work, we are now in a position where everyone is working together to make bear bile farming a thing of the past.

“The traditional medicine practitioners are on board and have provided alternatives for their community and customers. The government has given their backing and is drawing up plans to ensure the transfer of bears and suitable conditions for new sanctuaries, and the public is doing their bit to ensure as many people as possible are educated about the cruelty and the alternatives. Together, we are building the bear bile farm free future we all agree we want to see.”

The 360m2 garden is situated in the school’s Vinh Yen Creative Experience Centre, in Vinh Phuc province. The province is also home to Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre.

Local media including HanoiTV attended the opening, further raising awareness of herbal alternatives to bear bile among millions of people living in the nearby capital, Hanoi.


The Nguyen Binh Khiem-Cau Giay High School has a long history of helping to end bear bile farming, having collaborated with Animals Asia since 2015. Students visit Animals Asia’s sanctuary annually to learn about the plight of moon bears which were formally prevalent in the wild in Vietnam but are now thought to be nearly extinct in the country due to poaching to feed bile farms.

Tuan said:

“These kids are ambassadors in their communities, helping to educate people about the damage bear bile farming has caused to Vietnam’s wild populations of bears. This is their inheritance and they are demanding that action be taken now so that the next generation doesn’t grow up in a Vietnam robbed of its wildlife heritage by the short-sightedness of bear bile farming.”

TB and Mr Nguyen Van Hoa and the runner ups Ngo Tuan Duc (R) and Phan Phuong Thao(L)(1)