Animal rights advocates oppose IPO

Updated: 2012-02-15 20:24

By Jin Zhu (

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BEIJING - More than 70 public figures have signed a petition opposing the application of a pharmaceutical company that makes medicine from bear bile to become listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange.

The company, Guizhentang Pharmaceuticals, extracts bile from captive bears to make traditional Chinese medicines. Founded in 2000, the company is among 220 awaiting approval by the Growth Enterprise Board, according to the China Securities Regulatory Commission.

On Tuesday, the Ta Foundation, a private foundation concerned with animals' welfare, submitted an appeal signed by 72 public figures, including well-known lawyers, TV hosts, actors, and animal rights advocates, opposing the company's initial public offering (IPO). The signers include TV host Cui Yongyuan, writer Zhou Guoping, painter Chen Danqing, and snooker player Ding Junhui.

"We hope the commission will not support the company's bid to become publicly listed," the letter said.

"Animal welfare is an issue that is seldom considered when companies apply to be listed in China. But we hope government authorities will listen to our concerns," Han Xia, a staff member of the foundation, told China Daily on Wednesday.

The commission promised to respond to the letter within 15 business days.

The company plans to use the funds raised by going public to expand the size of its farm and increase the number of bears from about 400 to 1,200. The company's first attempt to become listed failed last year due to public opposition.

Medical professionals say the bears are subjected to crude surgery that leaves permanent wounds in their abdominal walls and gall bladders, causing serious disease and even death.

No substitute for drugs made from bear bile has been approved.