The European Parliament today requested that the Chinese Government initiate a countrywide ban over the farming of bear bile by the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, as a Written Declaration on the issue was passed. London's Green MEP, Jean Lambert, who signed the Written Declaration and helped launch the campaign in the European Parliament, has welcomed the step-forward and urged London to address it's own ethical standards before the 2012 Olympics.
Jean has continued to support the 'Moon Bears' campaign with Animals Asia Foundation that has seen over 40 bear farms closed down by the Chinese Government since October 2000. Jean was pleased that the Written Declaration, only the 5th to be adopted this mandate, was passed and commented; "Bear bile farming is a vile practice and is clear cruelty when there are over 50 herbal and synthetic, cheaper and equally efficacious alternatives available. China's Department of Wildlife Conservation may have rejected the resolution on the grounds that it is used for medical benefits but this cannot be argued when bear bile is used in shampoo.
"Although the Chinese Government has recently made positive efforts to work with the Animals Asia Foundation and free the bears, many more remain in captivity. The Written Declaration will formally acknowledge and request that further action is taken with the aim to ban the barbaric practice completely. The 2008 Beijing Olympics provides a clear opportunity for this. It is not acceptable that a major city, hosting the Olympic games, takes part in unethical customs and I urge London to address our own ethical standards before we are Olympic hosts in 2012."
The Asiatic Black Bear, also known as Moon Bears for the beautiful golden crescent across their chests, are one of the eight bear species in the world listed under the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but almost one third of their population, more than 7,000 bears are locked up in cages on 212 farms across China.
The bears are 'milked' for their bile up to twice a day often through catheters implanted in their gall bladders. The extradition causes severe physical and mental pain. Those that are rescued through the Animals Asia Foundation are taken to the Moon Bear Rescue Sanctuary at Chengdu. They are released from their cages and treated by a veterinary team through surgery to remove their damaged gall bladders.
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Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.
A Written Declaration requires 367 signatures. This Declaration on rising international concern over the farming of bear bile in China received 377.
Moon Bears: Found in Southern Asia Moon Bears are know as Asiatic Black Bears or Tibetan Moon Bears. There are as few as 16,000 left in the wild in China. The bears can live for up to 30 years in the wild but on bear farms many die at less than half that age, between 10 to 12 years.
Bile: a liquid that the bear's liver produces helping the bear to digest
fat in the diet. A catheter is either inserted in the gall bladder or a "free
dripping" method, which has recently been introduced, leaves a permanent,
gaping, infected hole in the bear's abdomen. Bears are often pinned to the bottom
of their cages for 24 hours a day.