Influential support in China

20 February 2012

With the issue of Guizengtang Pharmaceutical Company's IPO application dominating the headlines in China, reports of celebrity support began to flow in.

The Ta Foundation, a local animal welfare organisation founded by a group of influential media figures, made an appeal signed by 72 prominent people, including well-known lawyers, TV hosts, actors and animal rights advocates.

On 19 February, the foundation held a press conference to condemn bear farming and to promote the synthetic alternatives to bear bile. Hundreds of clinical trials have shown that there is no clear difference between artificial bear bile and natural bile, yet synthetic bile has not been approved by China's drug authority.

The conference aimed to highlight this issue and ultimately get approval for the drug. This would counter the frequent claim from the bear farming industry that there is no alternative to bear bile.

Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming visited our sanctuary on 18 February, and spent time at the Bear Hospital where he saw a bear that had been farmed using the "free drip" extraction method undergoing a health check.

Yao Ming is one of China's best-known athletes and is well-loved by the Chinese people. He achieved international stardom as one of the tallest players in the American NBA, playing for the Houston Rockets for eight seasons.

After taking in the sight of over 150 free bears playing in the grassy enclosures, before witnessing the graves of those that had died, Yao Ming left us with the following statements in support of ending bear farming:

"Moon bears are beautiful animals in nature; let's love and care for moon bears together."
"Support Animals Asia and help the moon bears."
"I am against bear farming and want it to end"