Discuss as:

Chinese company looks to expand bear-bile farms

AP

A bear lays inside a cage at the bear farm of Guizhentang pharmaceutical company, which makes bile tonics during a media tour in Hui'an county in southeast China's Fujian province, on Feb. 22. Last week, Chinese voiced outrage when the pharmaceutical company that sells tonics made with bear bile announced plans for a public listing. Dozens of Chinese entertainers, writers and other celebrities signed a petition to the China Securities Regulatory Commission urging it to withhold approval for the initial public offering by Guizhentang, a Chinese medicines maker.

AP

A bear lays inside a cage at the bear farm of Guizhentang pharmaceutical company, which makes bile tonics during a media tour in Hui'an county in southeast China's Fujian province.

AP

A bear looks out from a cage at the bear farm of Guizhentang pharmaceutical company, which makes bear bile tonics during a media tour in Hui'an county in southeast China's Fujian province, on Feb. 22. Last week, Chinese voiced outrage when the pharmaceutical company that sells tonics made with bear bile announced plans for a public listing. Dozens of Chinese entertainers, writers and other celebrities signed a petition to the China Securities Regulatory Commission urging it to withhold approval for the initial public offering by Guizhentang, a Chinese medicines maker.

AFP - Getty Images

Chinese workers collect bear bile, at one of the traditional Chinese medicine company Guizhentang's controversial bear bile farms in Hui'an, southeast China's Fujian province on February 22, 2012. Bear bile has long been used in China to treat various health problems, despite skepticism over its effectiveness and outrage over the bile extraction process, which animal rights group say is excruciatingly painful for bears.

AP

Bears wait to be feed at the bear farm of Guizhentang pharmaceutical company during a media tour in Hui'an county in southeast China's Fujian province on Feb. 22. Last week, Chinese voiced outrage when the pharmaceutical company that sells tonics made with bear bile announced plans for a public listing. Dozens of Chinese entertainers, writers and other celebrities signed a petition to the China Securities Regulatory Commission urging it to withhold approval for the initial public offering by Guizhentang, a Chinese medicines maker.

AFP - Getty Images

Bears are seen at one of the traditional Chinese medicine company Guizhentang's controversial bear bile farms in Hui'an, southeast China's Fujian province on Feb. 22. Bear bile has long been used in China to treat various health problems, despite skepticism over its effectiveness and outrage over the bile extraction process, which animal rights group say is excruciatingly painful for bears.

 These images were taken on a media tour of one of the Guizhentang company's farms after an uproar over their plans to expand erupted online in China, so please take into account that these are the images of a cleaned-up facility that the company allowed to get their side of the story out.

From AP:

SHANGHAI — A share listing plan by a company that sells tonics made with bear bile is provoking a storm of online criticism in China from animal rights groups, celebrities and ordinary Chinese.

Reports Friday said dozens of well-known entertainers, writers and other celebrities signed a petition to the China Securities Regulatory Commission urging it to withhold approval for the initial public offering by Guizhentang, a Chinese medicines maker. The company is awaiting approval for a share listing in Shenzhen.

Hundreds of thousands of comments on "weibo," the Chinese version of Twitter, blasted the company for extracting bile from the bears.

Animal rights groups contend the practice of bear bile farming is cruel because the animals are confined to small cages and milked of bile through catheters inserted into fistulas, or permanent wounds, in their gall bladders.

Read the full story about the initial public offering by Guizhentang and the ensuing outrage here.