A Chinese company, Gui Zhen Tang Pharmaceutical Corporation, produces bear bile by factory farming Asian black bears and milking the bile from their gall bladders, and has applied for inclusion in the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.
Animal Asia Foundation, along with a multitude of Chinese microbloggers, is opposing the move because of the inherent cruelty to the bears.
Sina Weibo is a microblogging site in China, similar to Twitter. The response to the recently released news of the company’s desire to go public has brought many animal advocates online to encourage Shenzhen Stock Exchange to deny Gui Zhen Tang’s application.
The Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time Report quotes one blogger on Sina Weibo. “Boycott! Resolutely boycott! They have no respect for life, so what does it matter if they have money? Demand laws to protect animals, demand laws to punish those who mistreat them.”
Why are so many Chinese speaking out against bear bile farming? Because Asian black bears- also known as moon bears- are forced to live a life of abject suffering in factory farm conditions. It is abhorrent.
Bears are kept in small cages where their movement is severely restricted. They have tubes surgically implanted through their abdomen into their gall bladders for milking by the farmers. The life expectancy for bile bears living in these conditions is only five years versus a normal 25 years in the wild.
AnimalsAsia.org reports on the various methods of bear bile milking. Whether through a latex catheter, a metal jacket, a metal catheter or the dangerous “free-dripping” technique, bear bile milking is sadistic, painful, cruel, inhumane and unsafe.
English.news.cn posted a quote from Yu Jichun, an environmental conservation documentary producer at Yunnan Satellite TV, “Fujian’s Gui Zhen Tang is raising capital, which is to be used in two projects to produce 4,000 kg of bear bile powder a year and to breed 1,200 caged black bears a year.” The company currently houses 400 bears.
He also said “The provincial authorities have approved the listing plan. If it is listed, then this year will spell doom for moon bears. I hope more people can boycott bear bile products.”
It is said there are over 50 herbal alternatives to bear bile. So why do bears continue to be subjected to this cruel and inhumane treatment? Bear bile is considered an important component of Chinese traditional medicine and supposedly has curative powers for liver and eye ailments.
Yet Animals Asia Foundation claims the bears suffer from infections and ultimately liver cancer from their life of bile milking. It says the process of bile milking contaminates the bears with bacteria, feces and urine from the unsanitary conditions in which they are forced to exist.
According to English.news.cn “Media reports have said the company hopes to be listed on the Growth Enterprise Market on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, and it is raising 70 million yuan (10.6 million dollars) for the listing, but the company and local securities regulator have declined to confirm the reports.”
Sign the Petition to save Moon Bears from bile extraction.
Let’s hope Shenzhen Stock Exchange listens to the voices of China’s citizens who do not want moon bears to be forced to live in these horrific conditions.
Flickr: Justin D22
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