Many of us are at least vaguely familiar with the issues and cruelty that abound in the dog and cat meat industry, the shark finning industry, and bear bile farming, but what about the story behind bear paw soup?

We are deeply saddened to report that the bear paw trade is indeed alive and prosperous throughout Asia in countries like Cambodia, Laos and South Korea, and all because bear paw soup is seen as a symbol of wealth and power.

According to Free the Bears Fund, bear paws, along with bear gallbladders (which are thought to relieve aliments and diseases, even though they don’t), are sold for over $100 per kilogram (or 2.2 pounds). In some instances, a bear’s paws and gallbladder can even be sold for up to $1,000.

Since the bear paw trade is clearly a lucrative one, it entices many to hunt bears without a thought for conservation. As a result, the bear paw trade “remains a threat to the ongoing survival of bears throughout Asia,” Free the Bears Fund Chief Executive Matt Hunt tells OGP.

“The illegal hunting and killing of bears is pushing both the Sun bear and Asiatic black bear (or Moon bear) closer to extinction with each passing day and so efforts really do need to be doubled in order to end this senseless trade,” says Hunt.

The 30-second video below, put together by students of TAFE in Perth, Western Australia for Free the Bears Fund, provides a short yet haunting introduction to the cruelty that surrounds the bear paw trade.

Help bears today by sharing the video below with your social media followers to raise awareness about bear paw soup, and consider making a donation to organizations that protect bears like Free the Bears Fund and Animals Asia to help them continue their much-needed work.

Image source: Free the Bears Fund