Legislature passes ban on bear bile products

HONOLULU (AP) - A bill banning the sale of products containing bear bile is headed to the governor's office.

The Hawaii Legislature on Monday passed a bill that would prohibit the import and sale products that contain bear gallbladders and bile. Gov. Neil Abercrombie must now decide whether to sign it into law.

Bear bile, which is used in traditional medicines and luxury cosemetics, can sell for thousands of dollars an ounce. According to the national organization Born Free USA, American black bears are poached for their gall bladders. In Asia, bears are caged with catheters inserted into their gall bladders to drain their bile.

Bear bile is not used by traditional medicine practitioners in Hawaii, but the Humane Society of the United States says products can be purchased in Honolulu's Chinatown.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.