The initial public offering that is garnering the most media is Facebook’s, due to the billions of dollars in value the shareholders have. However, one in China for a company making products from bear bile is of more importance in the realm of ethics, and is angering many animal supporters. Gui Zhen Tang keeps 400 black bears in captivity to extract their bile. If they have a successful IPO, the money the receive from selling shares may be used to expand their bear population to 12,000, according to Want China Times. That a company abuses and exploits innocent animals in such a cruel manner just to make money is hideous.
Abusing 400 bears is bad enough, and bear bile farming should be outlawed, but how many potential stock purchasers would be unaware of what they supporting if they buy shares of Gui Zhen Tang? The company applied for an IPO approval from the government a year ago, when it appeared the officials were not going to allow it. Now the company’s application has moved up near the top of the applicant list and is under review again.
Last March, in Hong Kong there was a protest against their potential IPO.
One of the reasons bears in Asia are kept in cages for bile extraction is there aren’t many left after years of over hunting. Even bears in North America have been hunted and killed for their gallbladders, to support Asian demand.
Making matters worse, is the fact bear bile is not even a necessary ingredient for products sold claiming health benefits. Over fifty herbal or human-made alternatives not containing bear bile are already available for consumers, according to Animals Asia. Not only are bear bile products suspect as ‘medicine’, taking them can actually cause damage to the kidneys and liver. Last year one man died in Vietnam after using bear bile. The belief in certain ‘medicines’ having the capacity to cure hangovers or impotence is nothing more than ignorant superstition. It is the same belief driving demand for rhino horn, which is responsible for the deaths of many rhinos.
We consumers must be informed about the consequences of our investments and purchases, or we may be causing great harm.
Image Credit: Sarbajit Pal