Sunday, August 8, 2010

caged for bile

South Korean bears are still used and brutally abused for primitive, outdated and outmoded medicinal purposes, but there is hope for these wonderful animals. According to WSPA:

Right now more than 1,400 bears suffer on bear farms in South Korea. These bears are confined to cramped, barren cages until the age of 10, when they are then slaughtered for their bile, which is then used in Traditional Asian Medicine. This industry is still legal under South Korean law.

Bear farming is cruel. The captive conditions greatly restrict the bears’ movements and have a terrible impact on their wellbeing. WSPA has witnessed bears rocking and pacing in their small cages, and seen the severe wounds, sores and stress caused by confining them.

Bear farming is unnecessary. Academics, experts and Traditional Asian Medicine advocates in South Korea agree that there are many readily available herbal and synthetic alternatives to bear bile. Even bear farmers in South Korea acknowledge that their farms are losing money and they are prepared to consider a phase out.

The South Korean government is willing to find a way to end this suffering. Government officials have been in discussions with WSPA and GKU about ending bear farming. This September, a bill to phase out bear farming will be proposed to the Korean parliament for the government to deliberate.

above: a caged and captive bear
below: a rescued bear, safe in an animal sanctuary

You can make a difference. It costs no money and takes only a minute of your time.

*note: this drawing was made for the Illustration Friday subject "caged", and was loosely based on a photo taken by Green Korea United, used by the WSPA, mixed-media in A4 watercolor Moleskine, 8/2010