|A bear being raised illegally in the northern Quang Ninh Province. The bear, which suffered pain in its paws due to improper care, was moved to Tam Dao National Park. — Photo vov.vn
HA NOI — Animals Asia Foundation and the Viet Nam Oriental Traditional Medicine Association yesterday signed an agreement to end the use of bear bile in oriental medicine in Viet Nam by 2020.
Accordingly, bear bile will no longer be prescribed by traditional medicine practitioners in the next five years and the use of alternative materials such as herbal medicine, which are more popular and much cheaper, will be promoted.
The agreement is part of the co-operative activities between the two organisations for the protection of bears in Viet Nam.
A book on cheaper and equally effective herbal and synthetic medicines had been published earlier and distributed free to encourage traditional medicine practitioners to give up their habit of using bear bile.
Chairman of the Viet Nam Oriental Traditional Medicine Association Tran Van Ban said the association has done deep research on alternative herbal medicines and introduced them to all members of the association.
However, he said, about five per cent of the traditional doctors still continued to use bear bile. The association will continue to raise the awareness of these doctors in the future.
A survey by the two organisations in 2012 revealed that 17 per cent of the traditional doctors said they prescribed bear bile and 23 per cent refused to answer the question.
Director of the Viet Nam-based Animals Asia Foundation Tuan Bendixsen said the target of ending the use of bear bile by 2020 was practical as its demand was falling and its market was gradually disappearing.
Figures from the foundation showed that the number of bears kept on bile farms have remarkably reduced from 4,000 in 2005 to about 1,400 in 2014. — VNS