Help Stop Killing of Black Bears for Their Organs

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Originally Posted: 1 August 2009

Help Stop Killing of Black Bears for Their Organs

From Big Wildlife

Tell your Senators and Representatives to Sponsor and Support the Bear Protection Act of 2009 that will address the harmful trade in bear gallbladders and bile.


Contact information for your U.S. Representative

Contact information for your U.S. Senators


NOTE from BigWildlife: According to the bill's sponsors, "The Bear Protection Act is crafted narrowly to address the harmful trade in bear gallbladders and bile without impacting a state’s ability to make fundamental decisions regarding bear management." [emphasis added] While Big Wildlife supports the bill, believes it is a necessary first step to cracking down on the trade in bear parts, and praises Reps. Grijalva and Campbell for introducing this vital legislation, our organization is committed to ultimately ending outright bear "management" policies that promote trophy hunting of these animals and employ aggressive government lethal control of bears. We are currently working to halt these brutal, unethical, scientifically indefensible, and unnecessary policies.

The United States should have a simple, uniform policy against the killing of bears for their gallbladders. Demand for bear parts has already decimated Asian bear populations including the endangered Asiatic black bear. Recent research shows that bear gallbladders and bile are being sold on both legal and illegal markets in the U.S. Gallbladders from North American bears are being obtained illegally and either marketed here or exported, while gallbladders and prepared products containing bile from endangered Asian bears are brought into the U.S. illegally and sold, primarily for use in traditional Asian medicine.

There currently exists a patchwork of state laws regulating the bear parts trade: some states allow unfettered trade in these organs, most prohibit it, and still others allow the trade if the bears were killed in another state. But once the gallbladder is removed, it is practically impossible to prove where the bear was killed. Thus, the continued trade from a small minority of states thwarts the wildlife management laws of the majority of states by facilitating a black market in bear galls. By uniformly prohibiting the trade in bear parts, the Bear Protection Act will assist state law enforcement officers in their effort to protect their resident bear populations.

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