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Earlier this year, after major policy changes, South Korea agreed to ban bear farming in the country by the start of 2026. This decision comes after almost 30 years of horrific bear farming across the country, and today, over 300 captive bears remain on farms in South Korea.
Source: Al Jazeera English/Youtube
Bear farms are used to produce bear bile, take body parts for traditional medicine, and even bear meat for food. However, bear farming puts a massive strain on wild bear populations, and the conditions at these farms are heartbreaking.
A major question for how these bear farms will look at the start of 2026 is where the bears will go. Some organizations have worked with former bear farms to create large group enclosures where they can live out the rest of their lives in peace and not in tiny cages. The bears, unfortunately, can not be released into the wild again.
Bear bile farming is an unimaginably cruel industry that keeps these helpless creatures in captivity under the worst of conditions. In recent years, the demand for bear bile has declined drastically, and those who still use it have indicated that they would try other alternative medicines. This makes the race to shut down bear bile farms all the more important.
There are a lot of questions to iron out in South Korea before 2026, like if there will be enough room for all of the bears to be put into sanctuaries.
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