Chinese bear bile farm listing put on hold

11 April 2013

Animals Asia has welcomed the news that bear bile farmer Guizhentang has put its application for a stock market launch on hold, calling it: “a welcome victory for the campaign to end bear bile farming”. 

Animals Asia works to end the barbaric bear bile trade, which sees over 10,000 bears -- mainly moon bears but also sun bears and brown bears -- kept on bile farms in China, and around 2,400 in Vietnam. The bears are milked regularly for their bile, which is used in traditional medicine. 

Guizehentang claims the delay to their IPO (Initial Public Offering) comes as a result of needing more time to prepare the requisite information. It had been expected to file financial reports to the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) before 31 May, 2013. However, in the wake of the suspension of the application, Chinese media has also highlighted the continued opposition to the listing and questioned whether this too had been an additional factor. 

Guizhentang had previously announced in early February 2011 that it would raise funds through a public listing and increase its number of bears from 400 to 1,200. 

Speaking to Chinese supporters via Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, Animals Asia this week said: 

“It has been reported that Guizhentang Pharmaceutical Company, which operates a bear bile farm, has applied to have their IPO application put temporarily on hold. 

“Guizhentang has encountered many difficulties since it first applied to list two years ago. These difficulties may reflect that neither the financial community nor the general public would support the listing of a company that extracts bile from live bears. 

“Although we understand this is not a final withdrawal from the application process, it appears that Guizhentang has chosen to quietly withdraw from this confrontation between profit and animal welfare. 

“This is a victory that belongs to all those who oppose bear bile farming.” 

Animals Asia’s work in China, including collecting a wealth of scientific evidence from previously farmed bears, has provided the Chinese public with a real picture of the cruelty of bear farming. Other local groups, together with the media in China are rallying to expose the industry and to promote the alternatives to bear bile to demonstrate that bear farming is a cruel and unnecessary practice. 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.