Chinese dodgy ‘medicine’ cruel to wildlife

Asian Black Bear (Ursus thibetanus)
Wrongly captured, cruelly caged and exploited as Bile bears or battery bears for TCM 
Kept in captivity to harvest bile, a digestive juice produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder.

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<<When extracted, the bears’ bile is a valuable commodity for sale as an ingredient in so-called ‘Traditional’ Chinese Medicine (TCM).   The bears are also known as moon bears because of the cream-colored crescent moon shape on their chest.

The Asian black bear, the one most commonly used on bear farms, is listed as ‘Vulnerable to Extinction’ on the World Conservation Union’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Animals. Bear bile collection occurs in China, South Korea, Laos and Vietnam.

Traditional Chinese medicine has been practiced for more than 3,000 years, but the popularity of some TCM cures has helped drive certain species close to extinction, including Tigers and Rhinos.  The use of the term ‘traditional’ connected with Chinese medicine is debatable anyway.  The term ought to be replaced by ‘gullible’.

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The use of endangered animal parts must be stopped completely.

TCM is immoral wildlife quackery only practiced by backward asians

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Because of their use in medicines — along with other factors like habitat loss — tigers have almost disappeared, with as few as 5,000 to 7,000 left in the wild. If the use of their bones for TCM continues, the powerful and majestic wild tiger may not be around for future generations. Rhino horn has been used in Chinese medicines for centuries. But now only 3,100 black rhinos survive in Africa. In Asia, the situation is even more dire, with only about 2,800 of all three Asian species combined.

Although many TCM practitioners now reject the use of these and other endangered species, poaching continues. The use of these animals’ parts and products is deeply rooted in traditional East Asian cultures and these ancient practices are slow to change.

The Chinese Medicine Council and Ministry of Health, must therefore condemn the use of endangered animal parts by de-registering any practitioners found to be using them.>>

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[Source:  ‘Chinese medicine council ban the use of endangered animal parts, ^http://www.change.org/en-AU/petitions/chinese-medicine-council-ban-the-use-of-endangered-animal-parts]

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Cruel TCM Bear Bile
A fraud.  It does nothing it is purported claimed to do.
It could be cerebal fluid from a human infant – just as much a placebo, just as immoral.

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<<At a conference in London (August 2011), the experts (have said) that there is no justification for the farms because their latest research has shown that that herbal substitutes have greater health benefits than those claimed for bear bile which is used in traditional Chinese medicine.
The rare public criticism of ‘bile farms’ by traditional Chinese medicine experts will be led by Dr Yibin Feng, an associate professor and assistant director at the School of Chinese Medicine at the University of Hong Kong.
He (unveilled)  new research showing that the bears’ suffering on the farms is “unnecessary” and (has called) for the farms to be closed down.
“Bears are being inhumanely treated and bear farming must end in the near future,” Dr Feng will tell the conference in Westminster.  Our research provides evidence that other easily available animal bile and plants can be used as bear bile substitutes.”
His conclusions will delight campaigners who for years have fought against the farms and freed hundreds of bears from captivity.They claim that opposition to the industry is growing as China’s burgeoning middle class become increasingly opposed to such cruelty.
Bear gall bladders have no proven medicial qualities.

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On the farms, the bears are milked while alive for their bile through crude holes cut into the abdomen wall and the gall bladder.
Photo: EPA

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Dr Feng will warn the World Traditional Chinese Medicine Congress conference, however, that opponents face a hard battle with traditionalists who remain convinced that real bear bile can help cure many ailments including stomach and digestive disorders and kidney problems. Many people, including government officials, will refuse to accept substitutes, he will say.

On the farms, the bears – mostly Asiatic black bears – are kept in tiny, cramped cages and milked for their bile through crude holes cut into the abdomen wall and the gall bladder.The wounds are deliberately left open, leaving the bears exposed to infection and disease.

They are kept hungry and denied free access to water because this helps produce more bile.The farms are still found in many parts of China and other Asian countries, fuelling poaching and illegal trade in the animals.

..Jill Robinson, the English founder and chief executive of the charity, which has a sanctuary for rescued bears in China, said: “Bears are dying in droves across the country in conditions that are just as horrendous as they were when we began rescuing bears in 1995.   This appalling trade has to end.

 

“There are over 54 different herbal alternatives and man-made synthetics that can take their place.

No one is going to die from a lack of bear bile.”

 

In December 2009, 19 of China’s mainland provinces committed to becoming bear farm free. Another province, Shandong, closed its last bear farm in 2010.  But there is growing concern that the bear bile trade is still widespread throughout Asia.  The Chinese government estimates that there are currently between 7,000 and 10,000 bears kept for their bile in China. There are an estimated 16,000 Asiatic bears living in the wild.

A report in May 2011 by ^TRAFFIC, the wildlife monitoring network, found that poaching and illegal trade of bears, “continues unabated”, and on a large scale..

..mostly in east asia, namely:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Malaysia
  • Myanmar
  • Vietnam

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The most common products on sale were pills and whole bear gall bladders where the bile secreted by the liver is stored.International trade in the bears, and their parts and derivatives, is prohibited under Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). The report found that the ban was widely flouted.

Domestic trade of bear bile is legal but regulated in China and Japan and illegal in other countries.

Bear bile has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than 3,000 years.Until about 30 years ago, the only way to acquire bear bile was by killing a wild animal and removing its gall bladder.

In the early 1980s bear farms began appearing in North Korea and quickly spread to China.  Bears rescued from farms by Animals Asia are found to be suffering from liver cancer, blindness, shattered teeth and ulcerated gums. Contaminated bile from sick bears poses a threat to human health.

..We must all help the thousands of bears suffering terrible cruelty.

Dr Jidong Wu, president of the UK association of traditional chinese medicine at Middlesex university, which prohibits the use of bear bile by its practitioners, said extracting bear bile was “inhumane and unethical” and “against the general principle and law of traditional Chinese medicine which emphasises keeping the balance between mankind and nature.”>>.

[Source:  ‘Chinese doctors to call for ‘cruel’ bear farms to be closed’, 20110828, by David Harrison, Telegraph, Britain, ^http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/8727071/Chinese-doctors-to-call-for-cruel-bear-farms-to-be-closed.html]
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Traditional Chinese Medicine?

 

The quackery spin:

 

 

 

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The cruel reality:

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Poachers of Manta Ray ‘gill rakers’ scam $US251/kg from Chinese

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Giant Oceanic Manta Ray (Manta birostris) – a free one
[Source:  ^http://www.treehugger.com/ocean-conservation/alibabacom-stops-selling-manta-ray-products.html]

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The Giant Oceanic Manta Ray (Manta birostris) is listed as ‘Vulnerable to extinction’ by The International Union for the Conservation of Nature due to overfishing.

They are the gentle giants of the ocean, weighing as much as 1400 kilograms. But an emerging market in Chinese (‘traditional’) Medicine for gill rakers is threatening global populations of giant manta rays.

An investigation last year found the main driver of the manta ray’s decline is rapidly increasing demand from Chinese and other markets for gill rakers – thin filaments that rays use to filter food from water – to be dried and boiled as medicines.

The group’s report found gill rakers were fetching on average $US251 a kilogram in Guangzhou in southern China, where 99 per cent of the world’s product is sold. Targeted fishing of rays occurs predominantly in India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Peru and China.

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Gill rakers, extracted from a slaughtered Mobula Ray to cater to backward asians
[Source: ^http://www.tonywublog.com/tag/traditional-chinese-medicine#axzz2D5oERJh9]

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The report says local traders are spruiking gill rakers as a way to boost the immune system, while others claim it can treat ailments like chickenpox and even cancer.>>

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What Crap!

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How to properly boost the human immune system:

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According to the Harvard Medical School:

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<<Our first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle.

Following general good-health guidelines is the single best step you can take toward keeping your immune system strong and healthy.

Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies such as these:

  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a diet high in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and low in saturated fat
  • Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Control your blood pressure
  • If you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation
  • Get adequate sleep
  • Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly
  • Get regular medical screening tests for people in your age group and risk category.>>

 

[Source:  Harvard Medical School, USA, ^http://www.health.harvard.edu/flu-resource-center/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.htm]

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So why do such backward asians perpetuate the dodgy ‘Gill Raker’ trade’?

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<<Just in the last fifteen or twenty years we’ve seen a new market opening up for a product from the manta rays, whereas before they were never really fished in significant quantities.

This product is the actual mechanism inside the gills of both manta and mobula rays. This structure of the body is called the gill raker, which is the part of the gill that strains their food out of the water.

Now this gill raker is chopped out of the manta’s body and are then dried and exported to Asia and they are then bought and consumed in a broth with other ingredients. The main ingredient is the gill raker because it’s believed that this has some medicinal properties that can treat a variety of different illnesses.>>

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Ed: Which is a lot of baloney.

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Gill rakers filter particles from water, allowing manta rays to feed.
Photo credit:  Guy Stevens
[Source:  ^http://conservationconnections.blogspot.com.au/]

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It’s supposed to be a traditional Chinese medicine but there are no historical references to this remedy in the Chinese texts, so the term ‘traditional’ cannot directly be applied accurately.
But nevertheless this product is being marketed as such. From what we’ve been able to find from market research in China and Hong Kong, the marketing pitch is that manta rays are capable of filtering particles out of the water, therefore if you consume the rakers yourself, it will filter impurities from your body. And it’s thought that because of the increasing problems with bird flu, SARS, asthma from pollution, et cetera, this marketing pitch has tapped into people’s insecurities and they’re consuming the gill rakers when twenty years ago this was an unheard of remedy. Now of course there’s absolutely zero medical proof that it’s beneficial.

Murdoch University manta ray researcher Frazer McGregor said the increasing affluence of the Chinese market was driving demand in animal products and the manta ray had been affected. He said the danger to the species was intensified by its slow rate of reproduction.

Now, amid increasing international efforts to curb the decline, the Australian Government will today protect the species – found predominantly in the tropical waters of northern Australia – under national environment law.

Under the protections, the giant ray will be listed as a migratory species, making it an offence to take, trade, keep, or move the species from Commonwealth waters. Fishers will now also have to report any interactions with a giant manta ray as is the case with other protected species such as dugongs and whale sharks.

Environment Minister Tony Burke said while Australia’s populations of giant manta rays were fairly secure, globally the species’ numbers have declined 30 per cent. Last year, the giant manta ray was listed as threatened under the international Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species.

”The giant manta ray is a highly migratory species – with some being known to travel more than 1000 kilometres – and threats often arise outside of protected areas,” Mr Burke said.
”For this reason, the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species and our national environment law are an excellent way to achieve international co-operation and co-ordination to better protect the species.’‘>>

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[Source:  ‘Chinese medicine proves disastrous for manta rays’, by Tom Arup, Sydney Morning Herald, 20121020, ^http://www.smh.com.au/environment/animals/chinese-medicine-proves-disastrous-for-manta-rays-20121019-27wrg.html]

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Poaching the Ocean’s Giants
This oceanic manta ray was caught off the coast of New Jersey in 1933.
It measured six metres from wing-tip-to-tip and weighed over 5,000 pounds.
Backward americans then branded them ‘giant devil fish’.
[Source:  Manta Trust (UK), ^http://www.mantatrust.org/about-mantas/mantas-at-a-glance/]

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Ed:

It is about time that the Australian Government formally outlawed the poaching of all Australian wildlife and outlawed the use or importation of any wildlife or their body parts.

It is also about time that the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia and the  Australian Acupuncture & Chinese Medicine Association Ltd publicly renounce the use of wildlife parts across its entire practice.

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Further Reading:

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[1]   ‘Manta Rays Under Attack – Will CITES Save the Manta?‘, 20121005,  by Shawn Heinrichs, ^http://www.bluespheremedia.com/2012/10/manta-rays-under-attack-will-cites-save-mantas/

The following photos were taken at Raja Ampat Islands, located off the northwest tip of Bird’s Head Peninsula on the island of New Guinea, in Indonesia’s West Papua province, Raja Ampat.  These photos are copyright of Shawn Heinrichs:

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[2]  ^MantaRayOfHope.org

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[3]  ^WildAid.org

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[4]   ^SharkSavers.org

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[5]  ^ The Manta Trust

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[6]  ^Manta Fisheries

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[7]  ^Gill Raker Trade

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[8]   Animals Asia, ^http://www.animalsasia.org    Go To:  >Campaigns  > ‘End Bear Bile Farming’

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[9]   ‘Bear gall bladder uses popular search term illegal activity‘, ^http://www.thirdage.com/news/bear-gall-bladder-uses-popular-search-term-illegal-activity_11-29-2010#ixzz16o2bZTKE

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[10]   ‘Bear Gall Bladders: Illegal And Ineffectual, But Lead Web Searches‘, 20101130, by Samantha Ellis, Global Animal, ^http://www.globalanimal.org/2010/11/30/bear-gall-bladders-illegal-and-ineffectual-but-leads-internet-searches/25331/
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<<Bear gall bladders are dominating Internet searches and are widely used in ancient Asian medicines. However, not only is the trafficking and trade of bear organs illegal, but it has been found that the gall bladders have no medicinal purpose.

Why do people continue to slaughter endangered animals – tiger, rhino, bear – for small useless organs, when there is proven, legal medicine available? The world is too small to continue consuming these beautiful animals in the name of cruel tradition.’ For anyone trolling the internet and contemplating the galling act of buying a bear’s gall bladder on the black market, may we suggest going to a doctor to get something that works? Anybody involved in killing one of  the last 3,200 wild tigers for ‘medicine,’ consider for a moment what you are doing to this iconic and disappearing species. And to those foolishly using Rhino horn as an ‘aphrodisiac,’ learn to love Viagra and make everybody, especially the rhino, happy! — Global Animal

Bear Gall Bladder uses is being searched widely on the internet giving the impression that many are curious about the use of this organ. However, trafficking or killing the animals for organ parts is illegal and should be discouraged.

The bear gall bladder has been used typically in ancient Chinese medicine. The bile stored in the bladder is said to cure several ailments and is used in anything from eye drops to pharmaceutical drugs.

The price for these organs ranges from $400 to $600 each. The practice of killing the bears and trafficking in their organs is highly illegal spurring an underground trade in the organs.

“There’s a hot black market for black bears,” Chinese officials say.  “Like the drug trade, this business spawns a seamy underside of big money, international smuggling and murder.  But unlike the drug trade, the illegal goods in this operation travel from west to east.”

Bear gall bladders have no proven medicial qualities.>>

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A staff member extracts bile from a live bear at a bear farm of Guizhentang Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd., which makes medicine by using bile extracted from live bears, in Hui’an, southeast China’s Fujian Province,Feb. 22, 2012. [Wei Peiquan/Xinhua],
^http://www.china.org.cn/opinion/2012-02/28/content_24750491.htm

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One Response to “Chinese dodgy ‘medicine’ cruel to wildlife”

  1. Richard browne says:

    Just look at the ugly, empty mug on the turd in the article photo looking at the manta gills..Says it all really.

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