Animal Friends Blog
Animal Friends Supports Charity Campaign to end the Cross-Border Trade of Bear Bile
Animal Friends Insurance launches a new advert in support of the charity Animals Asia and their campaign to end the bear bile trade from China to South Korea.
As part of their £1million Pound Charity Challenge, Animal Friends Pet Insurance supports a new campaign launched by Animals Asia and the Korean Animal Welfare Association (KAWA). The campaign is designed to inform tourists and travel agencies in South Korea that bringing bear bile into the country from China is illegal. To support this Animal Friends has created a brand new TV advert, which is aired daily on Sky and ITV 3 since July 2nd 2012 and introduces viewers to the Moon Bear, and their declining numbers.
“The aim of the advert is to achieve maximum exposure and awareness of the Moon Bear issues in Asia whilst driving a corporate benefit by selling pet insurance. Each policy sold helps Animal Friends to donate much needed financial support to many animal charities all over the world and Animals Asia is one that we are particularly passionate about,” said Chris Newnham, Marketing Manager, Animal Friends Insurance.
Every year, 300,000 South Korean tourists visit bear bile farms in China, according to information from local travel agencies, and 30 percent of these purchase bear bile and bring it back with them to South Korea. This is despite the import of bear bile to South Korea being illegal.
Toby Zhang, China External Affairs Director, Animals Asia commented: “Bear bile farmers in China are selling large amounts of bear bile to tourists from South Korea every year. Many tourists are unaware that it is illegal for them to take the bile back to South Korea with them. They also don’t know about the cruelty involved in farming bears, or the concerns on the safety of farmed bile. We are hopeful that this campaign will help to end bear bile farming in China.”
In some Asian countries, moon bears are kept in small cages for up to 30 years, and have their bile extracted through catheters, needles and open wounds. Starved, dehydrated and riddled with ailments, the bile is then used as a form of medicine. Animals Asia is working to end the barbaric bear bile trade, which sees more than 14,000 bears kept in cages on farms throughout China and Vietnam.
Animal Friends is aware that in addition to the animal welfare and public health concerns, bear bile farming is also a conservation issue. CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) lists Asiatic black bears in appendix 1, the most critical category of endangerment. Leading conservationists believe that bear bile farming is having a negative impact on the Asiatic Black Bear population, with many farmed bears found to have been illegally caught in the wild. The bear farming industry promotes the use of bile, and drives demand, which in turn is thought to lead to the capture of more bears.
Animal Friends Insurance have been supporting Animals Asia since 2004, by donating £1000 a month to assist their projects. The regular donation is vital as it supports the feeding of over 100 bears rescued at the charities established sanctuary in Vietnam and helps provide an enriched environment for these fortunate bears to live out their lives from pain and fear.. As a leading pet insurance company in the UK who actively supports animal welfare Animal Friends hopes raising awareness can make a significant difference to ending this barbaric practice.
In the latest 40 second adventure of Cracker the dog and Girlie the cat, the audience follows them on their worldwide travels to talk about some of the animals Animal Friends have helped. But Cracker as usual gets himself in a tight spot by befriending a mischievous Moon Bear. Set in the jungle this advert aims to promote the message out to a wider audience engaging adults and children alike.
“Animal Friends Insurance has been working with Animals Asia for many years but we hope this advert and promotion will help draw this practice to the public’s attention and to the plight of the Moon Bear in Asia. As a company we pride ourselves on not just saying but doing. ” said Elaine Fairfax, MD, Animal Friends Insurance.