The Chinese have long believed that bear gall bladders hold special healing qualities — leading to the worldwide massacre of bears to feed the Chinese traditional medicine market. Now a publicly traded pharmaceutical company, Guizhentang, has introduced “Bear bile farms” where hundreds of bears are held in cramped cages to be harvested for their bile. The horrific practice is carried out on drugged bears with a hypodermic needle.
The Chinese government of course has done nothing to stop this disgusting practice and the company now plans to triple the size of its bear-bile farms. It currently has 400 bears being “milked” of their bile.
What is a positive development is the growing opposition in China. Environmentalists are often arrested in China. Animal rights activists believe that about 20,000 black bears are kept on about 100 bile farms in China.
This is not just a problem on the mainland. Years ago, I went to Taiwan as part of a delegation to discuss environmental issues among other subjects. I went to “Snake Alley” to show government officials that it was easy to buy bear, tiger, and other prohibited items. When confronted with the evidence, the minister responded that these remedies actually work — a curious response since they are banned internationally. There remains a cultural hold on many Chinese — including educated Chinese — with these traditional medicines. That is why the opposition in China is so encouraging.
Source: NY Times