Vietnam's Forgotten Bears Make it to the House of Lords
Photo taken by Kate Fox at Animals Asia
Thanks to Verify Humanity's collaboration with Catholic Concern for Animals, on 21 September Baroness Hayman asked 3 questions in the House of Lords about bile bears and the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam, including specific references to the Nghe An province.
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have held with the government of Vietnam regarding the number of unchipped and illegal bears in captivity in Vietnam. HERE
To ask His Majesty's Government what discussions they have held with the government of Vietnam regarding reports that unchipped and illegal bears in Nghe An Province have not been confiscated due to violence against enforcement officials by illegal wildlife farmers. HERE
To ask His Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports that Nghe An Province in Vietnam is providing a backdoor route for the trafficking from Laos of Asiatic Black Bears, in contravention of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. HERE
The animal advocacy organisation Verify Humanity is currently campaigning to secure the release of hard to rescue illegal bile bears in Nghe An province of Vietnam. The campaign followed a visit to the region in 2018 by its founder, Kate Fox, who filmed Lawless Lands and has since been speaking out about these “forgotten bears." While bear bile is used in Traditional Medicine, effective herbal alternatives exist.
Fox states that “it's a powder keg of politically sensitive issues allowing crime to flourish. The story behind these #forgottenbears is one that no-one has wanted to talk about. But that is beginning to change.” There is a sizable Catholic community within Nghe An province and recognition of their historic persecution now seems to be making the enforcement of illegal wildlife trade laws within these areas much harder for the Vietnamese authorities.
Verify Humanity believes that illegal wildlife farmers may even be using this official reluctance to crack down on the trade to their advantage. Violent riots in the face of law enforcement is not uncommon, creating a safe space for this barbaric and illegal business model to flourish. With Nghe An province also being an entry point for smuggling CITES Appendix I bears across the border from Laos, it has created a zone where criminals operate beyond the reach of law.
Thanks to a successful collaboration with Catholic Concern for Animals which included a visit to the House of Lords in July this year to meet Baroness Hayman of Ullock, this issue is now getting the wider attention it deserves. On 21 September Baroness Hayman asked 3 questions in the House of Lords about bile bears and the illegal wildlife trade in Vietnam, including specific references to the Nghe An province.
A reply was given on behalf of the government by Lord Benyon which included the following statement, “The UK government fully opposes any intimidation of individuals carrying out official duties and is supportive of a proportionate response that reflects international commitments and due process.”
Verify Humanity welcomes this response and intends to follow it up with the APPG for Vietnam with whom it has already established useful contact, with the Vietnamese Embassy and with the British Ambassador to Vietnam.
Want to share this news? You may use our written content but please be sure to provide a link back to our website. Thanks!