Bear bile and the paralympics
Today, Monday January 9, National Public Radio’s “Morning Edition” included a segment on the farming in Korea, for bear bile, of Asiatic Black Bears, also known as Moon Bears. In a bit of bitter irony, the animals will serve as mascots at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games to be held in the South Korean town of PyeongChang next year.
Reporter Elise Hu, NPR’s Seoul correspondent, tells us:
“An hour’s drive south of Seoul, you can find a bear-bile farm, one of 39 sprinkled across the country. Here, farmer Kim Kwang-su keeps 230 moon bears in rusty cages.
“He breeds them and cages them for the legal minimum of 10 years. Then they’re slaughtered for their gall bladders. In East Asia, bear bile is believed to solve a host of health problems — from hangovers to heart disease. The bears are never let out.”
We learn that South Korea has banned the practice of milking bears of their bile while they are alive, “But the animals are still living in captivity until they’re killed.”
So after ten years of life in cages, the bears are slaughtered for their bile.
The story, which aired on “Morning Edition” can be heard or read, and pictures can be viewed, on the “Parrelels” section of the NPR website at http://tinyurl.com/zpobop8
Parrelels is NPR’s International News Blog.
The story is also currently on the front page of the Morning Edition site.
I hope you will share it widely. And please take just a moment to let NPR know that the story was appreciated. You can thank Morning Edition, where the show aired, at http://tinyurl.com/zeaj9fz and thank Parellels, responsible for its production, and where it is hosted on line, at Parallels@npr.org
I thank activist Susan Weingartner for making sure we saw it.