In a mission to help bears in the bile industry, Animals Asia has created an open letter to Vietnam’s prime minister

By Nicole Sands
Updated January 22, 2015 12:25 PM
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We can hardly bear the cuteness of Vietnam’s Halong Bay bears – and that’s just one reason why celebrities around the world are joining Animals Asia’s campaign to save them from suffering on bile farms.

In an effort to rescue Asia’s furry friends, singer/actress Olivia Newton-John, actor/writer (and newlywed!) Stephen Fry and actress Ali MacGraw have lent their helping hands to remove these bears from dangerous conditions and place them into Animals Asia’s care and rehabilitation at its Tam Dao bear sanctuary.

MacGraw visited sanctuary back in 2012 and called it “a paradise for bears rescued from the incredible cruelty of the bear bile industry.”

While more than 10,000 are held captive in China, 2,400 of them are held in Vietnam. The bears are milked for their bile – a digestive fluid produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder – which is also used in traditional Chinese medicine to cure various ailments, such as fever, heart and liver disease and eye irritations.

In order to remove the bile, the bears are forced through extremely painful injections and techniques that frequently result in mass infections.

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Credit: Courtesy Animals Asia

The bears are locked into cages for up to 30 years – or a lifetime – and often suffer from starvation, dehydration and diseases that ultimately lead to their death.

In a mission to help these bears, Animals Asia has created an open letter to Vietnam’s prime minister. In just one day, nearly 10,000 people have signed the letter.

“All we’re asking for is a happy ending for these poor, neglected bears,” says Newton-John, 66. “Time is running out, [so] please help us rescue them.”

Supporters who would like to have their voice heard can add their name to the letter here.

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Credit: Courtesy Animals Asia

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