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Alternative medicine without cruelty – no use for bear gallbladders


A fast increasing number of people are turning away from standard pharmaceutical medicines and the “one pill per ill” culture, in search of alternative or homeopathic treatments.  New laws recently implemented in the EU have made it harder for companies who produce homeopathic remedies to sell their products as high regulation fees have been imposed to ensure quality and safety of the alternative medicines; despite the fact that many of the ingredients involved are used in food and pharmaceutical goods.  The US is attempting to follow suit with the s510 bill, or, The food safety modernisation act.

The uglier side of alternative medicine is that which involves animal organs and on November 23rd at a press conference in Hanoi, a proposal was put forward by Education for Nature in Vietnam in a bid to save their bear population.

ENV surveyed more than 3,000 people in three cities, namely Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang.  Results came back with a 22% usage of bear gall bladders by individuals, mostly among the more highly educated populace.

Many consider the bear gall bladders a panacea for almost all diseases from scratches to cancer and 74% of participants felt there was nothing unlawful about killing the bears and using their gallbladders.

Endangered species

Two species of Vietnamese bear are seriously close to extinction courtesy of the poaching and farming trade.  Poachers catch young bears and sell them to bear farms where they are literally grown for their organs.  Some 3500 bears are held in captivity, most having come from the wild.

ENV believe that removing the bear farms would take Vietnam a step closer to saving its bear population and would be an important step toward a safe level of repopulation.  Also improving laws against hunting wild animals would be a massive help.

Why use gall bladders?

Bear gall bladders produce bile which is used in medicine to treat a variety of ailments including fever, liver disease, convulsions, diabetes and heart disease. South Korea and China are the biggest consumers of bear products including gall bladders and paws (which are supposed to give bear like vigour to whoever eats them).  Such is the demand that bears are now worth more dead than alive in Asian countries and a gall bladder can fetch as much as $3,400 while the whole bear could net as much as $10,000.

Indeed a bowl of bear paw soup in the more exclusive Asian restaurants could cost up to $1,400, and much in the same way as shark fin soup, there is absolutely no health benefit from consuming them, despite the myths and superstitions.

Many other products have the exact same effect as bear gall bladder bile which makes it even more absurd to kill such beautiful animals for products which are simply not needed.

Please share your thoughts on the animal trade, homeopathic medicine or anything else in the article by leaving a comment.


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