Press conference on the topic of Hanoi bile bears

Hanoi Last in the Race to End Bear Bile Farming in Vietnam

Urgent and decisive action needed 


Hanoi, 30 May 2022 – A coalition of organisations working to end bear bile farming in Vietnam called upon the Hanoi People’s Committee (PC) to take decisive action to end bear bile farming in the nation’s capital during a media briefing held today.

Seventeen years have passed since the Vietnamese government initiated a program aimed at phasing out bear bile farming in Vietnam. In 2005, more than 4,300 captive bears were registered and microchipped as part of an effort to prevent new bears from entering farms. Law enforcement authorities in many provinces have been working hard to end bear bile farming in their province, and thus far, 40 have become bear farm-free, and only 294 bile bears remain on farms across the country.

While most of the country has made great progress in ending the cruel practice of bear bile farming, sadly Hanoi is trailing behind. Hanoi remains the biggest bear bile farming hotspot, accounting for 149 bears, or 51% of captive bears in Vietnam.

“As our capital city, Hanoi should be a leading example in efforts to end bear bile farming in Vietnam for other provinces to follow. Unfortunately, Hanoi trails in last place in this national effort. It is time for Hanoi to shut down bear bile farms and rid our capital city of this cruel and illegal business.” 

says Bui Thi Ha, Vice Director at ENV. 

In January 2022, the Hanoi PC issued an instruction that highlighted the necessity for all districts and towns in Hanoi to strictly follow all wildlife management regulations and ramp up monitoring efforts and protect wildlife. The instruction requires authorities in Phuc Tho – Hanoi’s hotspot district for bear bile farming, keeping 139 bears that account for 93% of all the bears in Hanoi – to increase monitoring at these facilities. This instruction showed that Hanoi authorities are determined and are taking a stronger stance to help address the long-standing bear bile farming issue. However, this instruction alone – without commitment from Phuc Tho district People’s Committee and a clear plan to end bear farming in their district – is not enough, as evidenced by the fact that up until now, the bear bile industry in Phuc Tho has continued unabated.

“Since 2005, World Animal Protection has been working closely with the Vietnamese government, authorities, and the Vietnam Bear Coalition to ensure an end to the bear bile farming industry in Vietnam,” says Gilbert Sape, Global Head of Campaign – Wildlife at World Animal Protection. “In that time, we’ve seen great strides being made by numerous provinces, but Hanoi consistently lags in its efforts to follow suit. Ultimately, ending bear bile farming in Hanoi is essential to ending bear farming in Vietnam,” Sape concludes.

During the media briefing, the Vietnam Bear Coalition, comprised of Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV), FOUR PAWS, and World Animal Protection, also proposed actions that the Hanoi government can take to ensure that bear bile farming in Hanoi comes to an end, including:

  • Strengthening bear bile farm monitoring and inspections
  • Taking immediate and decisive action if violations or illegal bears are found on bear farms by confiscating bears
  • Ensuring strict prosecution and punishment for serious violations
  • Enacting a breeding ban on private bear farms
  • Convincing bear bile business owners to voluntarily transfer their bears to authorities without compensation
  • Promoting herbal and other humane alternatives to bear bile

Multiple bear sanctuaries, including FOUR PAWS’ international gold-standard BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, have been set up to accomodate farmed bears, providing them with a species-specific and semi-natural environment to live out the remainder of their lives. “In their new home in BEAR SANCTUARY Ninh Binh, the rescued bears can now follow their natural instincts,” says Ioana Dungler, Director Wild Animal Department at FOUR PAWS International. “After a life in horrible captive conditions, they rediscover a species-appropriate life, and that’s what we can provide the captive bile bears of Hanoi. We look forward to the day when Hanoi can be declared the next bear farm-free province in Vietnam.”

With support and decisive action by the Hanoi PC and Phuc Tho PC, a bear farm-free future could be realized in Hanoi in only a few years.

The Vietnam Bear Coalition thanks the government and law enforcement agencies, other NGOs and their international-standard rescue centers, and members of the public who have shown their dedication in the fight to end bear bile farming, and in particular, thanks the Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi for their generous contributions to today’s briefing event.

Vietnam Bear Coalition

A coalition of NGOs (Education for Nature – Vietnam (ENV), World Animal Protection, and FOUR PAWS) was formed in 2016, with the aim of supporting efforts by the Department of Natural Conservation (DONC), the authority under the Administration of Forestry (AOF) which is responsible for bear farm management in Vietnam, to expedite an end to bear farming in Vietnam. An end to bear farming means having no bears remaining at bear farms or other business establishments in Vietnam (excluding non-commercial establishments such as zoos and educational facilities, scientific institutions, and rescue centers).

In early 2017, the coalition finalized the roadmap to end bear farming in Vietnam, covering the fundamental components of the campaign: (1) strengthening laws and policy, (2) improving monitoring of bear farms, (3) establishing bear farm-free provinces, (4) providing placement options for confiscated and transferred bears, (5) eradicating bear crime and reducing market availability, (6) targeting hotspots, (7) putting pressure on bear farmers to give up bear bile farming, and (8) reducing consumer demand.

Asiatic black bear at a farm in Vietnam

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Katharina Braun

Katharina Braun

Team Lead Public Relations

+43 (0) 664 885 33 270

VIER PFOTEN International 
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1150 Vienna, Austria

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FOUR PAWS is the global animal welfare organisation for animals under direct human influence, which reveals suffering, rescues animals in need and protects them. Founded in 1988 in Vienna by Heli Dungler and friends, the organisation advocates for a world where humans treat animals with respect, empathy and understanding. The sustainable campaigns and projects of FOUR PAWS focus on companion animals including stray dogs and cats, farm animals and wild animals – such as bears, big cats and orangutans – kept in inappropriate conditions as well as in disaster and conflict zones. With offices in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, France, Germany, Kosovo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, South Africa, Thailand, Ukraine, the UK, the USA and Vietnam as well as sanctuaries for rescued animals in eleven countries, FOUR PAWS provides rapid help and long-term solutions.

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