China backs the bears

14 March 2012

The last few weeks have seen massive countrywide condemnation of bear farming in China with the issue saturating the news and putting the bear farming industry on the defensive.

As the leading experts on the cruelty of bear farming, Animals Asia has been at the centre of media reports on this surge of opposition, and is also experiencing a new wave of support from people all across China as they call for an end to bear farming.

The huge media and public outcry relates primarily to two key issues:

the application of Guizhentang Pharmaceutical Company Ltd, and owner of one of the biggest bear bile farms in China, for an initial public offering ("IPO") in order to finance the bear farm's expansion from 400 bears to 1,200,

a letter sent to the media by the Chinese Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine accusing Animals Asia of spreading misleading propaganda to undermine the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) industry in China.

Animals Asia has deliberately refrained from speaking out against Guizhentang as our focus is to challenge the bear farming industry as a whole, rather than campaign against one company. Instead, we have taken the opportunity to provide the media and the public with clear evidence of the cruelty and suffering that bear bile farming causes and further strengthen the argument against the industry. See Press conferences - February 2012.

As the public outcry against Guizhentang's plans gathered pace, the China Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine – a group that pharmaceutical companies who produce TCM medicines pay to join, and of which Guizhentang is a paying member – wrote a letter to the media attacking Animals Asia and appealing to the press to back the bear farming industry.

The letter caused a backlash from the public, and a further surge of support to end bear farming. It has led to an incredible outpouring of support for our work in China, from the public, the media, and from many TCM practitioners.

Our work in China has provided the Chinese public with a real picture of the cruelty of bear farming. This has enabled Chinese animal welfare groups, the Chinese media, and the Chinese public as a whole to make their opposition to bear farming known, and put unprecedented pressure on the industry.

Read our full statement here: Opposition to bear bile farming in China – Feb 2012.