WSPA to Korea: The time is now

Less than a week remains until the 2012 IUCN World Congress held in Jeju, Korea, concludes.

7 Korean publications have reported on the issue since the IUCN convention convened, and advocates eagerly wait for news.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is calling on the Government of South Korea, during its hosting of the IUCN World Conservation Congress this week, to lead the way in animal welfare by ending its bear farming and bear bile industry, ensuring no new bears are forced to suffer this intense cruelty.

Chris Gee, External Affairs Manager for WSPA, the leading global animal welfare organization, states: “The Government has no excuse; it must act now to protect the bears of Korea – a step the people of South Korea fully support. Research conducted by Hangil Research and Consulting last year revealed that just 1.2 per cent of Koreans say they have purchased bear bile. In fact, 89.5 per cent of South Koreans are against the farming and slaughtering of bears for bile; and 85.4 per cent of South Koreans agree that it should be outlawed.”

Today, the South Korean Government is expected to receive a new, independent report from Chungnam University detailing options for it to end the bear bile industry. The Government commissioned this report earlier in 2012, in response to mounting public pressure and its subsequent commitment to end the bear farming and bile industry.

Pressure is now building on the Korean Environment Minister, Yoo Young Sook, to act quickly in response to the report. WSPA is urging the Minister to act now to implement four steps to protect bears in Korea:

  1. An immediate ban on the breeding of bears on farms as a prerequisite to;
  2. An announcement of the end of the bear bile industry
  3. Allocation of Ministry of Environment budget to accelerate a humane and timely strategy to end the industry and stop the suffering of bears
  4. Immediate strengthening of enforcement of CITES requirements to prohibit and penalise the trade and sale of illegal bear products.

Chris Gee adds: “The time is now for the South Korean Government to demonstrate global leadership in animal welfare by taking these steps to protect bears and by supporting an international agreement to end bear farming at the IUCN congress.”


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