Animals Asia has welcomed news that industrial-scale bear bile farming company Guizhentang has ended its application for a stock market launch after the Chinese Securities Regulatory Commission announced its application review had been terminated.
It’s the end of Guizhentang’s three-year long attempt to float, which has been consistently criticised by animal welfare activists and the Chinese public alike. Guizhentang had previously announced in early February 2011 that it would raise funds through a public listing, increasing its number of bears from 400 to 1,200.
Animals Asia Director of External Affairs in China Toby Zhang said:
“This encouraging victory belongs to all those who have been saying no to cruelty. They have listened to their own conscience and have responded by continuing to campaign and working towards an end to bear bile farming."
“We know there is no humane method to extract bile from bears, we also know the bear bile produced potentially threatens the health of its consumers. Bear bile products are promoted by producers who often overstate their worth while ignoring the welfare of consumers.”
In the wake of the news, Animals Asia has taken the opportunity to promote a seven-point, three-to-five year plan that would bring about an end to bear bile farming:
1. Form a government-led coalition of bear farmers, veterinarians, NGO representatives, TCM practitioners and other key stakeholders to work together to evaluate solutions to ending bear bile farming including costing and a proposed timetable
2. “Take all necessary steps to prevent the increase in numbers of bears in existing farms as soon as possible.” - as stated in the IUCN resolution at the 2012 World Conversation Congress and signed by the Chinese government. This must include an immediate halt in the breeding of bears on bile farms as well as increased measures to ensure no more bears enter farms from the wild.
3. Initiate inspections of bear bile farms by experts, including animal welfare representatives, to:
4. Review all current bear bile drugs and use the information to assess the real demand for bear bile. Use the findings to schedule the staggered suspension of all.
5. Stop new bear bile drug approval and stop bear bile drugs from being available “over the counter” without a doctor’s prescription.
6. Encourage research on synthetic bear bile (a product that replicates bear bile but does not use bears); fast-tracking the approval process, so synthetic bear bile can be more widely available as soon as is reasonably possible.
7. Make the ending of bear bile smuggling a priority. Ensure that the smuggling of bear bile and bear parts is deemed a serious offence and punish offenders accordingly.
Toby Zhang added:
“This is a victory for animal welfare activists but already the media are reporting that Guizhentang will enlarge the scale of its business and may return to the idea of flotation at an opportune time in the future.
“We still have a long way to go and are taking this opportunity to spell out how we can put in place the first steps to ending bear bile farming once and for all. Guizhentang and the large-scale industrial bear bile farmers have expanded the size of the industry. Through breeding, the number of bears on farms has increased rapidly and with little transparency. The longer this goes on the harder it becomes to stop. The time to end this is now.”