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From Cage to Consumer Part 1 - World Society for the Protection of ...

From Cage to Consumer Part 1 - World Society for the Protection of ...

Executive SummaryBear

Executive SummaryBear bile has been used in Traditional Medicine forthousands of years and is believed by some to have anumber of therapeutic properties. Demand for bearbile is currently met through poaching of wild bearsand extraction of bile from live captive bears, aprocess known as bear farming.The international trade in bear species and products frombears is regulated by the Convention on International Tradein Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Alleight species of bear are listed on the Appendices of CITESwith five of the species being listed on Appendix I, whichprohibits all international commercial trade. Althoughcaptive bred animals on Appendix I of CITES can be tradedunder license, no bear farms are currently registered withCITES and so all commercial trade from bear farms isprohibited.Between March and November 2006, the World Societyfor the Protection of Animals (WSPA) conducted anundercover survey of the illegal trade of bear bile productsin the USA, Canada, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Korea,Australia and New Zealand. Bear products were illegallyoffered for sale in all countries investigated, with manystores claiming they originated from China. Many of thebear products found on sale were clearly labeled as beingfrom China and in particular its bear farms.Bear bile was offered at prices ranging from US$3 toUS$48 per gram depending on the country. Many shopowners stated that wild bear products were of much higherquality than farmed bile and so were more expensive. Thislends support to the argument that farming bears does notprotect wild bears as the two products are not substitutableand so demand for wild bear products persists.The number of shops offering bear bile for sale hasdecreased in some countries when compared with previoussimilar surveys. Possible reasons for this are discussed butit should be noted that this does not necessarily indicate anactual decrease in trade.The bear farming industry in China is giving rise to asubstantial amount of international illegal trade andmeasures put in place to stop the illegal export of bearproducts out of China are clearly not working. The WSPAtherefore urges the Chinese government to reconsider itsposition on bear farming and instigate a phase-out of thebear farming industry in China.SUMMARY OF SURVEY FINDINGSCountryUSACanadaJapanTaiwanKoreaSingaporeAustraliaNew Zealand% of stores surveyed where bearbile products could be purchased15%14%75%42%33%22%4%9%% of those stores where productsoriginated from China75%85%25%51%45%72%0%0%wspa-international.org3

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