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People's Daily Online>>China Society

Not everyone welcome at bile farm

By Tan Weiyun, Wang Qingchu (Shanghai Daily)

10:57, February 23, 2012

In a bid to quell public anger over bear bile extraction, a practice that animal rights organizations liken to torture, Guizhentang, a Fujian Province-based pharmaceutical company, held an open day yesterday.

However, visitors had to apply for entry in advance and at least one person, a spokesman for Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation (AAF), was turned away at the gate.

Zhang Xiaohai had to stay outside the base because, according to Guizhentang, "AAF didn't obey the application process."

The company's farm in Hui'an County, Quanzhou City, is the largest bear base in south China with more than 600 black bears. Their value to the company is around 200 million yuan (US$31.8 million) a year.

But the company has expansion plans and earlier this month announced it would be seeking an IPO (initial public offering) to raise cash by selling shares.

Yesterday, a number of celebrities joined animal welfare activists to sign a letter to the China Securities Regulatory Commission protesting the IPO plan, including former NBA star Yao Ming, TV host Yang Lan and Olympic champion skaters Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo.

Visitors who were allowed in to the bear base yesterday were shown three areas - an extraction zone, breeding zone and free-range zone.

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