SEOUL, Sept. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — Government action is being called for as hundreds of bears raised on farms for bile harvesting are living under extremely poor conditions.
The Korea Animal Welfare Association (KAWA) and Project Moon Bear, at a joint press conference held in Seoul on Wednesday, reported that there are currently 479 bears in captivity at 31 farms across the country.
A four-month probe into the bear farms launched in February showed that seven of the farms have been using expired food waste to feed the bears.
Other farms were also found to have been feeding the bears food mixed with pig and dog feed.
At 70 percent, the vast majority of all farms have been failing to supply a sufficient amount of water to the bears. Only eight farms were qualified in terms of providing sufficient water.
Nineteen farms were found to keep the bears on concrete floors, while others caged them inside iron-bar battery cages.
None of the farms offered a natural dirt ground for the bears.
“South Korea continues to legally condone the malpractices of caging bears and harvesting their bile despite international legislations in place to protect them,” said Dr. Choi Tae-gyu, head of Project Moon Bear.
The organization proposed that a bear sanctuary, a protection facility where bears can live healthily and safely until they die of natural causes, should be built as an alternative.
“We propose that the sanctuary be built to accommodate 150 bears, and bring in the first batch of 40 bears to test its operational capacity. The number of accommodations can be increased eventually,” said the KAWA.
“We estimate that the sanctuary will cost around 7.35 billion won (US$6.1 million) for its construction, and 1.1 billion won in operating costs every year.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)