Netizens have launched a new attack on Gui Zhen Tang, a pharmaceutical company that supplies the traditional Chinese medicine market with bile from threatened moon bears. The company is one of the largest producers of bear bile in China.
Last year, Gui Zhen Tang applied to be listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, but was blocked by a digital army of outraged citizens. Now, with the help of the Association of Chinese Traditional Medicine, Gui Zhen Tang is trying again. The company has stated that potential new capital from a stock market listing would allow them to expand the number of bears they use to produce bile from 400 to 1,200.
Animals Asia, a UK-based charity, describes the process of bear farming as "torture": bears are chained in cages and bile is extracted from their stomachs, leaving them with open and infected wounds. There is scientific evidence to suggest that ursodeoxycholic acid – found in bear bile – can help to treat gallstones, but the acid can be produced synthetically or taken from animals slaughtered in the meat trade. There is no scientific evidence to suggest bear bile has any other medical benefits.
Moon bear "farms" are not uncommon in China, Vietnam and South Korea. The practice continues even though the bears are listed as a vulnerable species by the World Conservation Union. The online outrage over Gui Zhen Tang's efforts is a encouraging sign that attitudes towards animal welfare are changing in China.
Take Action: Tell the Shenzhen Stock Exchange not to support animal cruelty by listing the Gui Zhen Tang Pharmaceutical Corporation.