Born Free Foundation - Keep Wildlife in the Wild

Bear Farming

China & Vietnam

Bear Bile farms

photo red door news



In early November, Born Free Founder and trustee Virginia McKenna visited a bear farm in North Vietnam with Animal's Asia Founder Jill Robinson.

Photos below.

(c)Red Door News
The bear was exhibiting a strange stereotypic behaviour, dementedly pulling and stretching his tongue. "It was absolutely one of the worst things I have seen in my life," said Virginia afterwards. "It is so evil. I will never, never forget it."
(c)Red Door News
A bear with a paw missing from being trapped in the wild
(c)Red Door News
This bear is suffering from an infection caused by the appalling conditions
(c)Red Door News

Virginia McKenna was haunted by her visit to the bear bile farm.  It has left her with mental images she knows she will never be able to erase.  Virginia has written about the chilling experience in her poem ‘The Darkest Day’   

Listen to Virginia reading her poem - The Darkest Day.mp3

Or read it at

Make a donation here


Moon Bear (c) Animals Asia
The rescued bears receive expert treatment

Bear bile is a traditional ingredient in Asian medicine and is extracted from living bears.  There are more than 10,000 Moon bears held in horrific conditions in China and Vietnam.

Caught from the wild in vicious leghold traps, the bears are kept in cramped cages, their teeth and claws removed and a metal catheter inserted into their gall bladders.  The pain is excruciating and the bears suffer appalling wounds.  Animals Asia has campaigned tirelessly to end the cruel practice and rescued hundreds of bears in China.  Now Born Free is supporting their work to extend the new sanctuary in Hanoi, Vietnam, to enable more bears to be rescued, and to promote the herbal and synthetic alternatives to bear bile.  At the sanctuary the rescued bears will receive expert veterinary treatment and enjoy nutritious food, lush natural foliage and swimming in cool water.


Write to the Ambassador of Vietnam in your country, or write to the Ambassador for the UK.  Click here to see a suggested letter, or use the text to compile your own letter.

Email address:

Fax: 020 7937 6108 (from outside UK dial 00 44 20 7937 6108)

To help Animals Asia in their work helping rescued bears please make a donation here

or Adopt Ginny who lives at Animals Asia’s bear sanctuary in SW China. She was rescued from a bear farm ten years ago.


Born Free Foundation
Broadlands Business Campus, Langhurstwood Road
, Horsham, RH12 4QP, UK - Charity Reg. No. 1070906

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