Readers Respond to Bear Bile Tourism Article (10/28/09)

[Letters] Bear bile tourism
November 05, 2009

In regards to your feature titled “Vietnamese urge Koreans not to travel for bear bile” on Oct. 28, 2009, written by Joe Moon:

I’ll admit I was not surprised that tourists from Korea were caught taking part in the illegal trade of protected animals, particularly considering Korea’s lax enforcement of its own animal welfare laws. I was surprised that it has received media attention here as traditionally the media is nearly irresponsible when it comes to reporting on animal welfare issues and news especially compared to the coverage these issues receive in other first and second world economies.

So for the staff and writers of the JoongAng, keep up the good work and I sincerely hope to see news like this continue to make it into your pages and, as the Republic of Korea becomes progressive, that news like this will actually make it in the press in the Korean language. Cheers,



Thank you for the inclusion of the article about bear bile farming and violations on Oct. 28, 2009. I have been living in Korea for three years, and as someone who cherishes Korean heritage, I was appalled to learn that my ancestral country was still engaging in archaic animal practices such as bear bile farming.

As I have never seen this issue in the news before, I found it refreshing and educational to read your article.

I congratulate Mr. Moon and hope to see more on this issue’s progress in the future. I hope that the politicians involved respond in due course to improve conditions. As Ms. McKenna said, there is no education here. I returned to Korea to find my mother had traveled to China and brought back bear gall products for her health. She had no idea where the chemical came from or that she had, in fact, broken a law.

Please continue to write about these issues.

-Kara (Wansook)


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