Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Animal Rights Protest (Mainland China)

Millions of Chinese netizens have joined a campaign against bear-farming amid a public outcry over the extraction of bear bile from live, caged animals.

  • Bear bile has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 1,000 years, and is believed to combat fever, protect the liver, and improve eyesight.

A poll on the popular news and chat site calling on people to oppose bear farming, garnered more than four million votes by Monday evening.

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.

I'm impressed by the number of Chinese citizens who have come forward in protest over "bear-bile milking." It shows just how globally-aware, sensitive and caring these people are. I believe China, in time, will become the U.S.'s staunchest ally and trade partner, a relationship that, right now, needs a little nurturing. In efforts to bridge the gap of understanding, I have become active on the Chinese internet, something I'll be sharing with you as the days and weeks unfold.

On Sunday afternoon of February 26th, a Shenzhen SZCAT-organized protest was taken to the streets in the Shenzhen Luohu district. Animal rights activists ["animal protection volunteers"] donned black bear masks and displayed posters in front of the Guizhentang Pharmaceutical Company store, protesting the extraction of bear bile from live bears, calling for the opposition of Guizhentang going public [IPO], attracting the attention and signatures of several passers-by.Thousands of SMS messages on “weibo” (Sina Weibo, China's most popular microblog: similar to Twitter) blasted Guizhentang for extracting bile from bears. Those messages have been forwarded (re-tweeted) thousands more times.

Click here to read a very thorough Bloomberg story about the IPO which features links to pro and con sides of the bile issue.

The Animals Asia Foundation estimates that about 20,000 black bears are kept on about 100 bile farms scattered across China.

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