Photo: Steve Gregory under a Creative Commons license.
This headline might surprise you if you didn't know that the bile produced by bears' gall bladders is a valuable commodity in traditional Chinese medicine. The commercial nature of the bile leads not only to the killing of bears, but to "bear farming" - the extremely painful process of "milking" bile from living bears.
While bear farming takes place in China, Vietnam and Korea, the value of bile leads to the killing of bears in the United States. But this week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a ban on the sale and transportation of bear gallbladders and bile throughout the state.As of last week, New York was one of only five states in the country that had no law on the books against the sale of bear parts. Animal advocacy groups lobbied for legislation that would keep New York from becoming a haven for the traffickers of bear bile.
Our biggest concern is about New York being used as a laundering point to get gallbladders out of the country. They are being shipped out of New York to places like Korea.
Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) and Sen. Mark Grisanti (R-Buffalo) introduced the legislation in May. Under the new law, violators can face a $1,000 fine. And while the law won't be able to stop bear farming, it's a step in the right direction.
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More legislation helping animals in trouble:
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Oregon Legislators Vote To Protect Both Wolves & Livestock
Putting the Endangered Species Act Into Practice, One Wolf Listing at a Time