Issue 7 - November 2009    Back to newsletter

Campaign to release Vietnam’s bile-farmed bears



Animals Asia Foundation is asking compassionate people world-wide to support their campaign for the release of Vietnam's bears illegally confined for bile-milking.


In September 2007, 80 bears in Vietnam were identified for confiscation into the care of Animals Asia Foundation. In the intervening two years, and despite constant urging from Animals Asia, the Vietnam government has released only ONE bear into the care of their sanctuary in Tam Dao National Park.

The remaining 79 bears are still confined to their cages, in the hands of the same owners who have used and abused them for many years.
They remain with owners who continue to:

  • extract bile, openly flouting Vietnam laws prohibiting the practice
  • break both national and international law by selling bile to tourists who transport it overseas
  • cause the bears horrendous fear, suffering and pain on a daily basis in the extraction process.

And still, the Vietnam government refuses to implement its own laws. It refuses to act to save these bears from deprivation, starvation and agonising death from disease and despair.

Animals Asia invites you to join their letter-writing campaign and help urge the Vietnamese government to honour its commitment to end bear bile farming in Vietnam.

They need your help to convince the Vietnam government to enforce the law and release these bears into our care, and invite you to join their campaign and send Animals Asia your letter for presentation to the government.

A sample letter is below. Animals Asia need original emails and letters to prove that there is widespread international support for their campaign. You can send your letter by email to Animals Asia at or mail it to your nearest Animals Asia office
You’ll find more information on their website at


The Honourable Prime Minister
The Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Mr Nguyen Tan Dung

Dear Honourable Prime Minister,
I would like to congratulate the Vietnamese Government on your endeavours to help Vietnam's endangered species of Asiatic black bear, and for working in partnership with Animals Asia Foundation to close down bear farms across Vietnam and confiscate illegally-held bears.
In September 2007, 80 illegally-held bears were identified on farms in Quang Ninh Province. Under Vietnamese law they should be confiscated and transferred into the care of a suitable bear rescue centre, such as the one established by the Central Forest Protection Department and Animals Asia Foundation in Tam Dao National Park.
I am concerned to hear that so far only one of these 80 bears has been confiscated and the other 79 are still being held illegally on these farms. I also understand that these farms continue to extract bear bile illegally and sell the bile to overseas tourists, which is a clear contravention of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) of which Vietnam has been a signatory since 1994. Illegal bear bile extraction was captured by Vietnam TV1 and shown on national TV in early June 2009.
The Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao National Park has the capacity to receive the 79 bears and Animals Asia has signed an agreement to look after these bears, on behalf of the Vietnamese Government, for the rest of their natural lives. Animals Asia has committed staff and funds and is prepared to take full responsibility for the bears’ veterinary treatment and ongoing management. The Vietnam rescue centre has taken in 29 bears to date and it is ready to take the 79 bears from these farms.
I understand the Central Forest Protection Department in Hanoi has been enormously helpful in encouraging the confiscation of these bears and working with Animals Asia in the construction of the sanctuary which has been developed to hold at least 200 confiscated bears.
Following widespread international publicity of the plight of these 79 bears, all of whom are clearly held in violation of the laws of your country, I write to ask that you order they be confiscated and transferred into the care of Animals Asia’s Moon Bear Rescue Centre in Tam Dao National Park.
Yours sincerely,


Points to include in personal letters:

  • Bear farming and the extraction of bear bile is illegal in Vietnam.
  • There are currently 79 bears held illegally on farms in Quang Ninh province.
  • The bear farmers continue to extract bile illegally from these bears and sell it to tourists.
  • Under Vietnamese law, these bears should be confiscated.
  • Animals Asia Foundation has a rescue centre in Tam Dao National Park, which is ready and waiting to receive these 79 bears.
  • Animals Asia will provide veterinary care and a sanctuary for the bears for the rest of their lives.


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