Wednesday, 22 February 2012 16:17

Major Step in Hawaii on Born Free USA Initiative to Protect Bears from Global Trade Featured

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Washington D.C., February 22, 2012, 2012 -- Born Free USA, a leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, is urging Hawaii lawmakers to join the majority of U.S. states that fully prohibit the trade in bear gallbladders. Yesterday, House Bill 2296 passed the House Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote (14 Y, 0 N, 1 absent). On February 10, Senate Bill 2232 passed the Senate Judiciary Committee with a unanimous vote (3Y, 0N, 2 absent). Both bills now head to the floor of each chamber.

According to Adam Roberts, Executive Vice President of Born Free USA, “A huge hurdle has been overcome. We urge the Hawaii legislature to act swiftly to close this loophole and combat what continues to be one of the most dangerous threats to bears on the mainland and globally."

Throughout the U.S. mainland, bears are killed for their gallbladders and bile.  Hawaii is one of the few states that still allow trade of bear gallbladders.  Although Hawaii lacks a wild bear population, this allowance -- and the state’s location – could encourage bear poaching globally; compromises bans already in place on the mainland; and puts bears everywhere at risk.

Born Free USA helped draft this landmark bill that would protect bears by prohibiting the commercial trade in bear gallbladders and bile in Hawaii.

Roberts further explains, “The bear gallbladder trade is a global problem that not only affects North American bears, but also the highly endangered Asiatic black bear and other imperiled species. The Hawaii Legislature should act responsibly and without delay to protect bears and help wildlife law enforcement across the nation.”

Sponsored by Senator Clayton Hee (D- Kahuku, Laie, Kaaawa, and Kaneohe Kahuku, Laie, Kaaawa, and Kaneohe), and Representative Jessica Wooley (D- Laie, Hauula, Kahaluu, Kaneoh), the bill would make it illegal to purchase, sell, transport or deliver bear gallbladders or bile, or any product, item, or substance containing, labeled, or advertised as containing bear gallbladder or bile.

Because the Asiatic bear is endangered, poachers turn to the U.S. to supply market demand. Bear gallbladders and bear bile are used in Asia and Asian communities in the U.S. to create medicines and luxury cosmetic items and toiletries such as shampoos and even hemorrhoid creams. While American black bears are poached in the wild to supply the gallbladder trade, Asiatic black bears are kept in coffin-like cages, constantly “milked” for their bile. There are reportedly as many as 54 known herbal substitutes to the use of bear gallbladders and bile that still conform to traditional medicinal applications.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation, and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade.  Born Free USA brings to America the message of “compassionate conservation” -- the vision of the U.K.-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film Born Free, along with their son Will Travers, now CEO of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.  More at: www.bornfreeusa.org; twitter http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

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Jon Patch

Graduated from Penn State University in 1983 and landed my first broadcasting job at the flagship station to SUN Radio Network in St. Petersburg, FL as a producer of talk radio.  In 3 months advanced to a network producer, then on air as a national eventually local weather reporter for the Tampa Bay area.  Held a position in management as a trainer to new hosts and producers and later Affiliate Relations Manager, eventually in 1990 started hosting, Talkin’ Pets.  Left SUN radio several years later and worked with USA Radio Networks for 1 year.  Have now been working with Business TalkRadio & Lifestyle TalkRadio Networks for the past 12 years under the title of Affiliate Relations and am still hosting the largest and longest running pet radio and internet show in the country, Talkin’ Pets, for the past 20 years…  My one true passion in life is to help to educate the world through interviews with celebrities like Betty White, Tippi Hedren, Bob Barker, Linda Blair and others, authors, foundations and organizations like the ASPCA, LCA, HSUS, AHA, WSPA on the ways to make this world a better place for all animals and mankind in which share this very fragile and mysterious planet called earth.  The only home we have so we all need to learn how to share and maintain it so that life for us all continues and evolves forever...

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