U.S. Senators John Kennedy, R-La., and Cory Booker, D-N.J. introduced a new bill this week to stop the exploitation of bears.
This Bear Protection Act is in companion with another bill that was introduced by U.S. Representatives Ted Lieu, D-Calif.; Rodney Davis, R-Ill., Ann Kuster, D-N.H., and Glenn Thompson, R-Penn in 2019.
Animal activists claim the demand for bear parts might be in Asia, but U.S bears are often targeted and poached. Bear gall bladders are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine and their paws are also used on occasion.
According to Animal Wellness Action, the Bear Protection Act would forbid any interstate transport or sales of bear galls and other viscera and forbid any imports or exports of these body parts. There are eight species of bears in the world, and once gall bladders are extracted from the body of a bear, they are visually indistinguishable in terms of species type.
“For years, legal loopholes have allowed the abuse and trade of wild bears to continue. I’m proud to partner with my friend Senator Booker to help prevent the slaughter and sale of innocent creatures through a commonsense solution,” says Kennedy.
“North American black bears are under threat from poachers and smugglers who supply the global trade in bear parts and products. This bipartisan legislation will help to conserve bears, deter bear poaching, and facilitate prosecution of illegal bear parts traders, says Booker.
While 40 states currently have laws to address this heinous type of trade, having national legislation would make a global statement about the wrongfulness of this abuse towards bears.