Vietnam Agrees to Phase Out Bear Farms

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.

Animal Rights Activists Target Bullfighting in Barcelona

The World Society for the Protection of Animals and Spain’s Animal Rights Defense Association are targeting Barcelona to convince the city to outlaw bullfight ahead of the 2004 Universal Forum of Culture which Barcelona will host.

The two groups commissioned a survey which found that 63 percent of respondents in Barcelona wanted an end to bullfighting. An earlier study commissioned by the two groups of attitudes about bullfighting in Catalonia as a whole found 94 percent of respondents favored outlawing bullfighting (neither survey is available online, however, so it’s not known exactly what questions the survey asked).

Manuel Cases of the Animal Rights Defense Association told Australian newspaper The Age,

At the end of the 19th century there were three bullrings in Barcelona, now there is just one left. That has bullfights on Sunday from May to October but mostly for people who come in tourist buses from the Costa Brava.

Philip Lymbery of the World Society for the Protection of Animals said in a press release,

Bullfighting is abhorrent to many people internationally. This new survey shows that the majority of people in Barcelona agree that bullfighting has nothing to do with culture and everything to do with cruelty. It is ironic then, that a city that allows over 100 bulls to be ritually tortured and killed as entertainment annually will next year host the Universal Forum of Culture. We therefore urge Barcelona to ban bullfighting and thereby avoid tainting the spirit of this international cultural event.

Catalonia’s animal welfare law forbids the fighting of animals but specifically exempts bullfights that take place on public holidays.

Bullfighting is popular in Spain in general, but not in the Catalonia region. According to the World Society for the Protection of Animals, for example, only about 100 bulls are killed annually in bullfights in Barcelona. This out of an estimated 20,000+ bulls killed annually in bullfights throughout the country.


Survey reveals Spanish opposition to bullfighting in Barcelona. Press Release, World Society for the Protection of Animals, April 4, 2003.

Majority of people in Catalonia, Spain, opposed to bullfighting, according to a new survey released today. Press Release, World Society for the Protection of Animals, March 22, 2002.

Singapore's World Gourmet Summit Draws Controversy Over Foie Gras

The World Gourmet Summit, held in Singapore this April, came under a lot of fire and controversy for its decision to feature foie gras.

Animal activists, including Singapore-based AnimalWatch, criticized the inclusion of the delicacy on the grounds that its production is cruel. Activists maintain that geese and duck are cruelly force fed in order to fatten up the livers of the animals. Group such as Advocates for Animals, World Society for the Protection of Animals, Compassion in World Farming, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States, also wrote letters to the organizers of the World Gourmet Summit asking them to drop foie gras off the menu.

Despite the protests, Summit organizers Peter Knipp Holdings and the Singapore Tourism Board decided to go ahead with the foie gras dinner.


Foie gras on Singapore feast menu despite protest from animal rights body. AFP, April 2, 2003.

Animal rights groups slam summit over ‘inhumane’ dish. Melissa Lwee, The Straits Times, April 4, 2003.

Group Wants an End to Hanging of Dogs

The World Society for the Protection of Animals recently highlighted its call for a national animal protection law in Spain by turning the spotlight on a gruesome practice — the hanging of greyhounds.

The WSPA claims that every year thousands of greyhounds are hanged after the conclusion of the annular hare-coursing season. The dogs are then dumped in shallow graves or rubbish piles.

Spain has no national animal protection law and its regional laws are spotty at best. In at least two parts of Spain, Andalucia and Extremadura, there are no animal protection laws and hanging greyhounds is not a crime.

Other regions do have animal protection laws, including laws that specifically forbid the hanging of greyhounds, but they are not rigorously enforced. According to the WPSA, for example, not one person has been prosecuted under Castilla y Leon’s law banning the hanging of dogs.


Campaigners call on Spain to outlaw hanging of dogs. Elizabeth Nash, The Independent (London), April 29, 2002.

Animal charity uncovers hanging of unwanted greyhounds. Ananova, April 29, 2002.