New York Governor Signs Bear Protection Legislation Into Law


This is a guest post by Karen Vale, U.S. Programs Jr. Manager at the World Society for the Protection of Animals.

In a great win for animal protection, New York no longer lags behind other states when it comes to protecting wildlife!

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) recently asked supporters to petition New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to sign an amendment to the New York Environmental Conservation Law that would help stop the commercial trade of bear gallbladders and bile. The proposed law would, in turn, protect New York’s 7,000 wild black bears from being poached for the bear parts trade.

We’re happy to announce that — as a result of the approximately 15,000 supporters who signed the petition — the Governor signed the bill into law on August 18!

Bear bile, extracted from the animal’s gallbladder, is used in some traditional Asian medicine and is thought to treat fever, swelling and pain associated with various conditions. Since commercial trade of gallbladder and bile was legal in New York, this encouraged poaching of bears specifically for those parts. Despite the many humane synthetic and herbal alternatives to bear bile identified and promoted by WSPA, completely unnecessary commercial trade was occurring in New York — putting black bears in the state at risk.

Here are some highlights of the new law:

    It sets in place highly restricting measures and prohibits commercial trade unless the gallbladder bile is associated with a legal hunting tag. New York hunters are only permitted to hunt one bear per year, which reduces trade to one gallbladder/bile product per year as well.
    It sets fines for violations up to $5,000, which is a significant penalty for a wildlife crime.
    It requires taxidermists to provide detailed registries of any traded gallbladders/bile to the Department of Environmental Conservation, which can be used as valuable evidence by law enforcement when prosecuting perpetrators.

Although not a complete ban as the original bill proposed, this is still a major improvement in the state’s wildlife protection laws when compared to the previous lack of restrictions. Prior to this law, New York was a haven for bear gallbladder/bile poachers because of the previous lack of restrictions. We are extremely pleased with New York’s efforts to enhance bear protection and grateful to all the supporters who signed the petition!

For more information on WSPA’s work to prevent bear cruelty and captivity all around the world, visit

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Takako I.
Takako I.2 years ago

Great News. Finally, bears in NY are torture free, from people's brutality and greed to make money out of it. Please move to Chinese bile farms to stop their brutal actions. Mothers should never kill her babies to stop from suffering.
Please stop killing wild animals for inconvenience. Plus torture should never be justified whatever the reasons are.

Patricia G.
Patricia Ggal2 years ago

I think a letter needs to go to Governor Cuomo to inturn write the Chinese government to demand they stop their illegal torturing of bears for some sickly bile business.
Ugh....this story by far is the worse I've ever read.

Fred Hoekstra
Fred Hoekstra2 years ago

Thank you Kayla, for Sharing this!

Peter C.
Peter C.3 years ago

i live in NY , in the Back Yard is over 100 acreage of forest here lies a problem , in the attempt to protect the bears , you are killing humans , bears kill and they kill for no reason , Bears are a big problem around here , and unless your around them all the time , you have to look before leaving your house for bears so your not attacked , than yeah protect the bears is such an easy thing to say , but when they are knocking at your back door and you have 4 kids in the house ,, not so easy , i would be very careful how and when such laws are put in place , i understand about the killing for there parts , yeah every thing about that is wrong , but this has gotten to the point i cant even hurt a bear if being attacked , there was a comment about there should be no killing of any kind , yeah ok , if you wear clothes or if you eat food or if alot of your daily activity involves human life , you yourself are contribution to the killing of animals , like it or not , alot of everything we do has gotten further away from killing of animals but there is still alot left , if you go to church what do you think they did back then? they killed animals so get over it .. stop killing human kill the animals

richa blue akasha
Rich Blue3 years ago

not bad, Its still not a ban..and now stricter laws and punishments for hunters too please...

Caterina L.
Cat L.3 years ago

Recently I had someone say on facebook that petitions did not work. Thanks for proving him wrong. A victory for Bears!

cal shummon
cal calshummon4 years ago

I can Bear the thought-awesome

Ruth R.
Ruth R.4 years ago

Good news to a petition with a good outcome.

Anna Nizhegorodtseva
Anna Kushnir4 years ago

It would be better to ban killing at all!

Cheryl B.
Cheryl B.4 years ago

great news for the bears