Bear farm phase-out

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, Jan/Feb 1995:

HONG KONG––Conceding that
bear-farming boosts demand for bear prod-
ucts and therefore encourages bear poach-
ing, the China Wildlife Conservation
Association, a branch of the Chinese
Ministry of Forestry, has signed an agree-
ment with the World Society for the
Protection of Animals, the Hong Kong
environmental group Earthcare, and the
International Fund for Animal Welfare to
cut bear farm production by a third within
three years; ensure no new cubs are put into
restrictive cages or tapped for their bile,
which many Chinese believe has medicinal
value; research and promote medically
approved alternatives to bear bile, including
herbal remedies; close down unlicensed

bear farms as promptly as possible; con-
serve bears in the wild; and eventually
eliminate bear farming if the Chinese medi-
cinal market can be satisfied by other
means. In addition, the animal protection
groups are authorized “to use the Chinese
state-run media for the purposes of promot-
ing alternatives to animal products in
Chinese medicine,” according to a WSPA
release. “The group did not discuss improv-
ing the living conditions for the bears which
will remain on farms over the next few
years,” the release continued. “Clearly this
is a concern which should be addressed at
follow-up meetings.”
What becomes of the bear-farm
bears is also an issue: when Chinese offi-
cials barred the privately owned China
Feline Captive Breeding Center in
Mudanjiang, Manchuria from slaughtering
73 captive tigers last November, the breed-
ers threatened to starve them to death
instead. Their subsequent fate is unknown.
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