China / Society

Activists warn Guizhentang on animal malpractices

By Zhao Xinying ( Updated: 2015-12-27 15:07

A group of animal rights activists and veterinarians gathered in Beijing on Thursday to express their strong oppositions against a pharmaceutical enterprise, which extracts bile from live black bears to produce medicine, from being listed on the New Third Board.

Zhang Xiaohai, founder of the Ta Foundation, has fought against the extraction of bear bile for 12 years. Zhang said, "Guizhentang, the enterprise, should give up the idea of being listed, as its major business - extracting bear bile for commercial benefits - is cruel and immoral.

"Now substitutes of bear bile products have been found, but Guizhentang still insists on the cruel practice, we can't tolerate such a cruel and irresponsible enterprise to go public to collect money," Zhang said.

This is not the first time the Fujian Province enterprise encountered public opposition and criticism for bile harvesting from black bears. In 2012, when Guizhentang filed for approval of being listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, loud protests finally made the enterprise give up the idea.

Zhang Zhijun, president of Guizhentang, said in a previous interview with China National Radio that he thought there was no problem with their way of extracting bear bile and going public was their enterprise’ strategy that should be respected.

He also said the public was welcomed to pay a visit to Guizhentang's bear farms, claiming that the improving skills of extracting bile left no pain on the bears.

Zhang Yue, a host on China Central Television (CCTV) was not convinced.

"The extraction leaves permanents wounds on the bears and causes a series of mental problems and physical diseases, including cholecystitis and liver cancer to the bears. The bears are in major pain," Zhang Yue said.

"Guizhentang's IPO should not be approved to encourage the development of such an enterprise," she added. "We hope that Guizhentang can stop the extraction and start using bile substitutes as soon as possible."

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