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Jackie Chan kicks up awareness of Bear Farming

A passionate advocate for animals, Jackie Chan has once again teamed up with the World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) to create awareness of a little-known example of appalling cruelty to animals – bear farming in Asia. Chan and WSPA have filmed a powerful 30-second PSA calling for an end to the cruel practice and showing the intense suffering and deplorable conditions bears on farms are forced to endure.

WSPA has identified bear farming as the planet's worst example of animal suffering inflicted by humans, and the PSA is part of a worldwide campaign to highlight the plight of the 12,000 bears living in Asia's bear farms.

“Around the world, WSPA is working hard to make people aware of what happens on bear farms,” said Peter Chen, WSPA Canada Community Outreach Officer. “We're grateful that Jackie Chan is helping to further WSPA's mission to end bear farming.”

Bile from the gall bladders of bears is used in Tradition Asian Medicine and believed to have medicinal properties. As a result, bears are raised in captivity and forced to suffer painful procedures to extract their bile. The conditions the bears live in are dire – most live in cages about the size of a telephone booth turned on its side, where they cannot stand or easily turn around. They can live this awful existence for decades.

The use of bear bile in Traditional Asian Medicine is unnecessary. A synthetic alternative has existed since the 1950s, and many experts in Traditional Asian Medicine agree that alternatives such as herbal remedies and acupuncture are equally effective.

“The World Society for the Protection of Animals campaigns to stop cruelty and change attitudes towards animals,” said Jackie Chan. “They are doing great work in so many countries and deserve our support.”

One of the biggest threats faced by bears in the United States today is an illegal yet thriving trade in bear parts, including bear gallbladders. Each year wild bears are killed so that their parts can be sold in Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM) shops in the United States and internationally. US Representative Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) recently re-introduced H.R. 5534, the Bear Protection Act of 2008, to protect North American bears. The Act specifically bans the import, export and interstate trade of all bear parts and products, while closing loopholes in existing state laws.

Supporters are urged to contact their representative and encourage them to co-sponsor and pass this important legislation.

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