Help Bears Threatened by Poaching
Consumerism is threatening the survival of bears around the world.
The international demand for bear body parts has put a price tag on the head of every wild bear. Bear gall bile is especially sought after and is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), shampoos, teas and wines.
Bears in the U.S. are at great risk, as poachers have discovered that foreign markets, where bear stocks are dwindling, are willing to pay a high price for gall bladders, paws and other parts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service estimates that 40,000 bears are hunted legally each year in North America. Along with this, an additional 40,000 are killed illegally each year, while poachers go virtually unpunished.
Most consumers are unaware that bear bile products can now be found in most major U.S. cities. The problem is significantly more severe in Asia. In China, bears are farmed and milked daily for their bile through a surgically implanted drain. The procedure is extremely painful and conditions are deplorable.
The U.S. government must do its part to stop the cycle of exploitation by safeguarding American species from the illegal trade of bear parts and bringing about a commitment from China to phase out bear farming over the next four years, before the Olympic torch shines over Beijing in 2008.
Don't let this tragedy continue. Urge the U.S. government to make the Bear Protection Act a priority in Congress and use its influence in support of bears around the world.
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I am gravely concerned for the bear population in the United States, which is being harvested for bear parts and sold for use in traditional medicines, shampoos and wine. I do not agree with this practice. [Your comment here.]
Poachers in North America take more than 40,000 bears annually; many to supply the illegal bear parts industry in the U.S. and abroad. This is unacceptable. The Bear Protection Act must be made a priority in the U.S. Congress.
In passing the Bear Protection Act, the U.S. government will be taking an important step in stopping the cycle of exploitation, by safeguarding American species from the illegal trade in bear parts.
But the crisis doesn't end at our borders. Allegations of inhumane conditions for thousands of bears on Chinese farms are impossible to ignore. While the Chinese government has promised to phase out bear farming, they have yet to commit to a clear and definitive timeline. U.S. officials must take a strong stance to ensure that China is not allowed to open international trade in bear products.
As a US policy maker, please do something now. We cannot allow bears to be treated like this. Make bears a priority in the next Congress.