Bear Bile Farming

February 21, 2012 by staff 

Bear Bile Farming, Thousands of Chinese are protesting the pharmaceutical company Guizhentang, as it plans to triple the size of its bear-bile farms. Bear bile extraction, done with a needle and taken from the gall bladder, can lead to peritonitis and septicemia, leaving the bear to essentially die in agony. The bears, who can grow up to 400 pounds or more, are kept in cages not big enough for them to stand up. This is all for the sake of supposedly being able to cure joint pain, fever, hangovers, and impotence. Our modern medicine possesses a plethora of alternative treatments that actually work when it comes to these health issues (anybody hear of Viagra?). Is it really necessary to invest in one that is unproven and causes the immense suffering of a wild animal? Here’s to to the protesters, we applaud your courage and conviction! – Global Animal

Walk into a barn lined with cramped bear cages and you hear two kinds of sounds from the animals – either a high-pitched whimper or a deep, raging snarl.

It’s a distasteful experience, and saddening, watching a keeper stab anesthesia into a thrashing bear, then locate the groggy animal’s gall bladder with a small sonogram machine and withdraw a fat hypodermic’s worth of bile. It’s not for the squeamish.

The practice is gruesome enough that hundreds of thousands of Chinese have attacked the pharmaceutical company Guizhentang with online complaints over the firm’s plans to triple the size of its bear-bile farms through a public offering of shares on the Shenzhen stock exchange. The company said it currently farms about 400 bears.

The company also said its Web site was hacked last Saturday, one hour after it posted an invitation for the public to visit its bear farm.

Outrage does seem to be growing in China. The former N.B.A. star Yao Ming recently visited and endorsed a sanctuary run by the Animals Asia Foundation near Chengdu, in Sichuan Province. The group estimates that about 20,000 black bears are kept on about 100 bile farms in China.

The Ta Foundation, a private animal welfare group, recently submitted a petition to the Chinese regulatory authorities signed by 72 public figures, including Ding Junhui, a famous Chinese snooker player, Chen Danqing, a well-known painter, and Cui Yongyuan, a TV host.

The comedian Ricky Gervais also has been a longtime supporter of campaigns to stop bile farms. Earlier this month a rescue bear he sponsored died.

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