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Calls for Complete Abolition of Bear Farming in Korea

world animal dayPress Release by moonbears.org
Date: 25 Sept, 2012
Venue: Gwang Wha Moon Square, Seoul, Korea
Time: 13:00

moonbears.org was established in 2007 with the aim to accomplish complete abolition of bear farming. There are 1100 bears suffering daily from the bear farms in Korea.

In 1981,the Korean Agriculture Department imported more than 500 moon bears from abroad to boost farming household income by exporting of farmed bears.  But due to the global trend of export bans for endangered species, these bears ended up becoming just a nuisance to the bear farmers.  Currently these bears are being abused by cost cutting measures by the bear farmers with little water and food. They remain kept in old and dirty cages in the Korean bear farms.

Despite the various herbs and lab created medicines to replace bear gall   bladder, bears continue to suffer and even die from stress and overwork in the course of illegal draining of their bear gall bladder while still alive.  Also, illegal slaughtering & secret trafficking of bear meat is being reported by local media constantly. Their plight is simply appalling.

In the course of protesting against the government policy, one bear farmer even declared that bear blood is to be commercialized as product after certain research.  The Korean bear farmers clearly want to legalize bear products for the local markets since exports are now banned internationally.  This issue is the Korean Government’s responsibility stemming from its original decision to encourage bear farming. In addition, the Korean Government has not properly regulated and controlled this industry for the last 30 years. Moreover, it is appalling the farmers keep putting pressure on the Government to be compensated for their money losing bear business. This is not agreed by local communities. They do this purely in their own financial interests.

Both the Korean Government and the bear farmers deserve the criticism of society at large and now it is time such criminal acts are no longer tolerated. The Government should be responsible for imposing strict punishment against illegal bear farm owners upon discovering illegal farming.  First of all it is quite urgent to promulgate revision of the legislation for related special bear farm laws in order to provide for punishment of such criminal acts. Without having the law, enforcement of laws against illegal activity is impossible.

Contrary to the will to protect the nature of the world by the scholars of the globe through the recent IUCN conference in Korea, this cruel system of bear farming casts a dark shadow on this country.  According to the result of the conference, Korea was included in the list of 5 countries that breed moon bears(China, Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar), and IUCN requested the Korean Government to indicate a prompt and clear position to ban bear farming upon its implementation of a new policy.

Now at this time the eyes of the world are focusing on the advancing nation of Korea.  The 22000 petition signatures being presented today to the Government have been gathered from all over the world.  The petitioners are resoundingly calling for the closure of our cruel and shameless bear farming system.  Being a leader of the modern world, Korea should pay its respects to life and the environment. Its advanced auto industry and mobile communication devices alone do not prove anything without better animal welfare policies.

Just to stress, the moon bears being kept in the bear farms in Korea are clearly an endangered species belonging to Index 1 designated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources.  The 9 proposals for voluntary elimination of bear farming announced by the Ministry for Environment must be dropped in favor of compulsory ones and if not the Government shall not be able to avoid accusations by the community in general or domestic and international animal protection groups.  These rules should be compulsory and apply to all farmers.  This is because the larger scale bear farms may not agree with the Government proposal for sterilization operations and could lead to a major increase in the number of bears is anticipated in these farms as a result of the numbers of bears given up by small scale bear farms.

A more effective policy would be, for the Government to first purchase all 1100 moon bears from the farmers and for it to provide step by step sterilization operations upon promulgation of legislation abolishing full scale bear bile farming. Additionally the Government should provide sanctuaries for the remaining bears who can live out their remaining lives in peace.  According to the legend, the Korean peoples’ ancestor is the offspring of Ungyeo-a female bear.  As the offspring of a bear, we must save bears from cruel farming cages as soon as possible.  Upon the death of bears in their sanctuary, such places can be changed into national parks, symbolizing a space for peace and philanthropy, similar to World Trade Center’s that has re-birthed as a symbol of freedom.

Founder of moonbears.org

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