The World Society for the Protection of Animals in Framingham, Massachusetts, has announced a partnership with the Antigua-based Calvin Ayre Foundation in a campaign to end the practice of farming Asian bears for their bile.
WSPA launched the campaign in the name of animal welfare and wild bear conservation. The organization points out that there are suitable alternatives to bear bile, which is believed to have medicinal properties. Since the 1980s, live bears have been kept for the purpose of bile extraction. Today, more than 14,000 bears in China, Korea, and Vietnam are kept in cages no bigger than a telephone booth while being subjected to painful daily extractions. The predominant species used in this practice is the endangered Asiatic black bear.
The partnership with the foundation is designed to bolster the campaign and help raise international awareness about the issue. "The [foundation's] support will enable us to sustain and increase our efforts to end the horrific practice of bear bile farming in Asia," said WSPA director general Peter Davies. "This partnership will soon bring significant benefit to the farmed bears that are captive and suffering in Asia."