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Science supports alternatives to bear bile

So many positive developments just now in relation to dogs, cats and bears, that it's hard to know where to start.

Just before we intercepted the truck full of caged dogs rescued from being delivered to the live animal markets on New Year's Eve, I was going to write about developments in research on the alternatives to bear bile.

Our good friend and benefactor Mr Frank Pong – who so generously gave us the financial confidence in July 2000 to start the China Bear Rescue – has once again shown how committed he is to helping end bear farming.

In early 2008, Frank generously gave a grant under his Pong Ding Yuen Endowment Fund for Education and Research in Chinese-Western Medicine.

This grant allowed Assistant Professor Feng Yibin and his colleagues at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Chinese Medicine to research the effectiveness of various Chinese herbal alternatives for ailments commonly treated using bear bile products. The grant was matched by the Hong Kong Government and will allow the studies to continue for the next four years.

Excitingly, on the 13th of December, we were invited to the 5th Pong Ding Yeun International Traditional Chinese Medicine Symposium at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Chinese Medicine, where Professor Feng (at left with Frank and me) presented the initial results of his research.

It was an unforgettable presentation, as we heard Professor Feng comparing research into the effectiveness of herbs compared with bear bile and showing the herb “coptis” to be far more effective than bear bile at killing cancer cell lines. There is much more research to be done, but these initial results are extremely positive for our work and of course for those poor bears clearly suffering so unnecessarily on the farms. 

Following the presentation, we were invited by the university to hold a press conference which virtually all of Hong Kong's major print media attended as Professor Feng, Frank and I spoke about bear farming abuse and the research results in more depth.

We are incredibly grateful to Frank and his family who have been supporting this work now for nearly nine years.

Please click here for the full story of the presentation and press conference.

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