In March, the World Society for the Protection of Animals announced that it had reach an agreement with Vietnam to create a task force that would be responsible for managing the phasing out of bear farms in that Asian country.
Although bear farms are already illegal in Vietnam, laws against them have rarely been enforced and the World Society for the Protection of Animals estimates there are about 3,000 bears on such farms.
The bears are raised by farmers to extract their bile which then is used in folk remedies for a wide range of health complaints.
Vietnam has agreed to micro-chip all bears in captivity to monitor farms and gradually close the farms. It will work with the World Society for the Protection of Animals to develop a sanctuary for the bears in Cat Tien National Park.
Vietnamese government to phase out bear farming. Press release, World Society for the Protection of Animals, March 10, 2005.
Vietnam promises to get rid of bear farms. Agence-France Press, March 10, 2005.