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Bear bile maker, under fire, opens farm to reporters

02-22-2012 16:14 BJT

FUZHOU, Feb. 22 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese pharmaceutical company Wednesday morning allowed more than 100 reporters to visit a farm where it breeds bears for their bile, amid protests from the public and animal welfare activists.

At the bear farm of Guizhentang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., based in the eastern province of Fujian, a Xinhua reporter saw about 60 bears roaming outdoors.

Poll: Bear bile     (Total votes:Loading)
1.Have you ate bear bile production before?
A. Yes
B. No
2.Do you think bear bile production has special effects on your health?
A. Yes
B. No
C. Hard to say
3.Do you support the pharmaceutical companies get the bile from lively bear?
A. Yes
B. No

Journalists visit a bear farm of Guizhentang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd.,
which makes medicine by using bile extracted from live bears, in Hui'
an, southeast China's Fujian Province, Feb. 22, 2012. Guizhentang
Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., which has been attacked over the last couple
of weeks for what animal rights activists have referred to as "brutal
bile extraction," opened one of its bear farms to the media Wednesday
morning, a move aimed at quelling public criticism of its operations
and planned initial public offering (IPO). (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)

A farm worker said more than 600 bears were kept in the farm, with some in the open and others in concrete bungalows covered with wire netting.

The reporter was also allowed to witness the bile extraction process.

A practitioner disinfected the surgical cut in the bear's abdomen, which was confined in a small cage. Then, he inserted an 8-centimeter-long fine tube into the cut, and about 100 milliliters of bile flowed out. Finally, he removed the tube and disinfected the cut again.

A staff member shows a cup of bear bile extracted from a live bear at a bear farm of
Guizhentang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., which makes medicine by using bile extracted from
live bears, in Hui'an, southeast China's Fujian Province, Feb. 22, 2012. Guizhentang
Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., which has been attacked over the last couple of weeks for what
animal rights activists have referred to as "brutal bile extraction," opened one of its
bear farms to the media Wednesday morning, a move aimed at quelling public criticism
of its operations and planned initial public offering (IPO). (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)

The whole process lasted about 30 seconds, during which the bear was consuming liquid food and remained quiet.

The reporter noticed that there were more than 100 cages in the farm used to conduct the operation.

A staff member extracts bile from a live bear at a bear farm of Guizhentang
Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., which makes medicine by using bile extracted from live bears,
in Hui'an, southeast China's Fujian Province, Feb. 22, 2012. Guizhentang Pharmaceutical
Co. Ltd., which has been attacked over the last couple of weeks for what animal rights
activists have referred to as "brutal bile extraction," opened one of its bear farms to
the media Wednesday morning, a move aimed at quelling public criticism of its operations
and planned initial public offering (IPO). (Xinhua/Wei Peiquan)

Guizhentang has been under fire for a couple of weeks after it was found to have resumed a plan to go public to expand bile production.

For nearly 3,000 years, bear bile has been used as an ingredient in traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) to cure eye and liver ailments.

While members of the public and animal welfare advocates have called for eliminating bear bile extraction, some TCM experts defended the industry, citing the "irreplaceable" medical value of bear bile.

TCM experts defend bear bile harvesting

A company in Fujian province that makes traditional Chinese medicine from bear bile has again been targeted by animal rights activists. This comes as it makes a second attempt to become publicly listed.Full story>>

Medicinal value of bear bile

Public outrage at the extraction of bear bile has been growing in recent years. But it hasn't stopped the industry from expanding. The reason lies in the importance of the substance in the eyes of the traditional medical industry.Full story>>

Tele interview: Deeper understanding of the conflict between TCM and protection of animals

For more on the issue, we are joined on the phone by Mr. Liu Shinan, senior columnist for China Daily. Good evening, Mr. Liu.Full story>>

Editor:Wang Lingfei |Source: Xinhua

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