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European Parliament Unite on Ending Moon Bear Bile

European Parliament Unite on Ending Moon Bear Bile Farming in China

LONDON, Jan. 11 /MediaNet International-AsiaNet/ --

Animals Asia Foundation (AAF) welcomes "overwhelming" European Parliament support.

A cross-party written declaration calling for the Chinese government to end the horrific practice of bear bile farming is now official European Parliament Policy after more than 370 MEPs, from across Europe, signed the declaration.

This is only the 4th time in this current Parliament that a written declaration has gained enough signatures and cross-party support to be adopted.

The Declaration was co-authored by David Martin, Labour MEP for Scotland, Neil Parish, Conservative MEP for the South West, Peter Skinner, Labour MEP for the South East, Terence Wynn, Labour MEP for the North West and London Labour MEP Robert Evans.

Signed by MEPs from all 25 member states the declaration requests the Chinese Government takes a clear stance on bear farming and initiate a countrywide ban on breeding bears on farms.

It also calls for a clear time- limit for the end of bear farming and requests the Chinese Government liaise with the Animals Asia Foundation in accelerating the closure of all bear farms through programmes benefiting captive bears and farmers reliant on the industry.

The President of the European Parliament will now write to the Chinese Premier setting out the Parliament's position and requesting a response.

Neil Parish, Conservative MEP for the South West, said "Beijing is set to host the 2008 Olympics and the eyes of the world will be on China. If this brutal practice is not outlawed by then, we will be doing all we can to take TV cameras into these repugnant farms.

"The Chinese government has been watching closely to see if the resolution gained the requisite support and I know they will now take great notice of it."

Known as 'Moon' Bears for the beautiful golden crescent across their chests, these Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) listed endangered bears are subjected to a lifetime of torture and misery. The Bears are 'milked' for their bile using horrific methods of bile extraction that cause severe mental and physical pain.

The bile is used in Chinese Traditional Medicine (TCM); however, there are over fifty herbal and synthetic products available that are cheaper and equally efficacious. Due to an over-supply in production bear bile can also be found in non- medicinal products such as face creams, soap, shampoo, tea and wine.

Though banned across Europe bear bile is still legal in China.

Peter Skinner, Labour MEP for the South East, commented "We intend to keep this issue alive so the Chinese government will have to close the farms before the international press descends on them in 2008.

"It is an added disgrace that an oversupply of bile is being used in products with no medicinal value such as shampoos, skin cream and wine."

Animals Asia, with help from the Chinese government, has closed down 40 farms and rescued 198 bears. Yet, with an estimate 7000 bears on farms across China, there is more to be done.

Jill Robinson MBE, Founder and CEO of Animals Asia welcomed this declaration as "groundbreaking" and said "It shows overwhelming support from the European Parliament for our Government partners in China who are helping Animals Asia to close down bear farms across the country.

"We now urge the Central Government to take a firm stance against this barbaric industry and to announce a date when it will end once and for all."

© Scoop Media

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