World Society for the Protection of Animals

World Society for the Protection of Animals

June 04, 2007 10:00 ET

Media Advisory: Local Vancouver Dragon Boaters Break Out Their Paddles to Protect Asian Bears

News Conference TODAY at 11 am PDT

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 4, 2007) -

Editors Note: A photo for this release will be available on the CP picture wire via CCNMatthews.

Attention: Assignment Editor, Environment Editor, News Editor, Photo Editor, World News Editor

A group of 100 local athletes, the Synergy Dragon Boat Racing team, will be sporting team uniforms during the upcoming Alcan Dragon Boat Festival bearing a bear paw emblem with a slogan that reads in Chinese and English: "Protect Asian bears. Don't use bear bile." Synergy is one of several local groups supporting the World Society for the Protection of Animals' campaign to end bear farming in Asia and discourage consumption of bear bile, an ingredient in some Traditional Asian Medicines.

News Conference at S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Social Service Centre
28 West Pender Street, Room 215, Vancouver, BC V6B 1R6
Mon., June 4th, 2007 11 am PDT

"The Alcan Dragon Boat Festival represents a fantastic opportunity to reach up to 120,000 people and ask for their help to protect bears, end bear bile use and, ultimately, end bear farming in Asia," said Pat Tohill, WSPA's Programs Manager. "We're thrilled to be partnered with Synergy Dragon Boat Racing. We're also grateful for the support of Mary Lo and Jacky Tse and hope that the rest of the community will be as supportive."

WSPA and their partner in the campaign to end bear farming, the Calvin Ayre Foundation, will host a news conference today at S.U.C.C.E.S.S.'s social service centre. Ms. Mary Lo, host of Fairchild TV and Fairchild Radio, and Mr. Jacky Tse, President of the Chinese Entrepreneurs Society of Canada, will register their support for the campaign by signing a giant fabric 'petition' scroll along with representatives of Synergy Dragon Boat Racing.

Volunteers, including members and supporters of the Synergy team, will be asking the public to support the campaign by signing the same fabric scroll bearing the same "Protect Asian bears" message. Last year, WSPA collected more than 14,000 endorsements at events held in Ontario, covering more than 150 metres of fabric with signatures. The group hopes to collect a similar number in Vancouver during the dragon boat races on June 16th and 17th. An online petition is also being promoted at

There are at least 12,000 bears suffering on farms in Vietnam, Korea and China as their bile is used as an ingredient in Traditional Asian Medicine (TAM). Most are held captive in small cages, some measuring no more than 1 m x 1 m x 2 m, about the size of a telephone booth turned on its side. These bears suffer needlessly as a growing number of experts in TAM agree that there are many alternative therapies including herbal remedies and acupuncture that can be used in place of bear bile.

Editor's Note #1: A photo of the Synergy Dragon Boat Racing team taken at Saturday's Dragon Zone races is available on the CP picture wire via CCNMatthews.

Editor's Note #2: To date, more than three dozen international associations representing more than 14,000 Traditional Asian Medicine practitioners, 500 suppliers have signed WSPA's joint statement in support of animal protection and alternatives to bear bile. The Canadian Academy and Association of Chinese Acupuncture/Medicine, the Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Society of Australia, the American Association of Oriental Medicine, the German Acupuncture Society and the Academy of Oriental Medicine in Austin are just a few of the associations that have endorsed the statement. For a complete list of supportive associations, see www.bearbile/jointstatement.

Contact Information

  • WSPA Canada
    Patrick Tohill
    Programs Manager
    Office #: (416) 369-0044
    (to reach Patrick in Vancouver) - cell #: (416) 898-9448
    WSPA Canada - For Chinese Media:
    Peter Chen
    Community Outreach Officer
    Office #: (416) 369-0044
    (to reach Peter in Vancouver) - cell #: (647) 883-0982