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Protest Today Against China's Bear Farming

Protest Today Against China's Bear Farming - Following Overwhelming Support from New Zealanders

More than 15,500 postcards signed by compassionate New Zealanders will be handed over to the Chinese Ambassador today during a public protest.

The protest, which will be held outside the Chinese Embassy in Wellington, marks the end of the New Zealand leg of an international campaign to intensify pressure on the Chinese Government to ban bear bile farming.

The protest will be attended by Green Party MP, Sue Kedgley who says "It's great that WSPA is bringing this hideously cruel and inhumane practice to our attention, because most people are unaware of it. I call on the Chinese government to phase out this callous practice."

The tour, which was organised by WSPA (the World Society for the Protection of Animals), has travelled to Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Napier, Palmerston North and Wellington over the past week to collect signatures.

The goal was to get at least 9,000 postcards signed, to symbolise the 9,000 bears that are currently being farmed for their bile in China across 167 bear farms. However, overwhelming support for the tour has meant that more than 15,500 postcards have been signed.

"We're absolutely thrilled with the country's response to the tour. Thousands of people have come together to show their support and speak out against this appalling industry. So many people were horrified to learn about the cruelty of China's bear farms, while others already knew about it and were keen to show their support," says Regional Manager of WSPA's New Zealand office, Kimberly Muncaster.

They are joined by thousands of others from around the world who have also signed a postcard asking the Chinese Government to ban bear bile farming.

Bear bile is an ingredient in some Traditional Chinese Medicines, and is viewed as a cure for many illnesses. However, the active ingredient can be produced synthetically and there are now more than 75 herbal alternatives, making bear farming completely unnecessary.

Public Protest Today

Date: Tuesday, 11 November, 2003

Time: 1.00pm

Place: Outside the Chinese Embassy, Glenmore St, Kelburn, Wellington

Media and public are welcome and encouraged to attend the protest at the Ambassador Chinese Embassy, which will kick-off at 1pm, with the official handover of the postcards signed by New Zealanders.

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