Activists Slam China’s Use of Bear Bile in COVID-19 Treatment

Activists Slam China’s Use of Bear Bile in COVID-19 Treatment

A controversial decision. China has given the green light to the use of bear bile to fight the new coronavirus, angering activists.

Faced with Western medicine, Chinese President Xi Jiping wanted to promote the use of traditional medicine, of which bear bile is a part, in the fight against Covid-19. A use which aims to treat patients severely affected by the coronavirus. But if bear bile is used in particular to dissolve gallstones and kidney stones, its effectiveness in the treatment of the virus has not been proven.

The environmental associations denounce the fate made in China of thousands of bears, immobilized in narrow cages where their abdomen is perforated by a catheter connected to their vesicle in order to remove the bile. For the Animal Asia Foundation (AAF) association, the use of bear bile is both “tragic and contradictory” because China has just banned the trade in wild animals for food. A response to the appearance of the virus at the Wuhan market, where wild animals are sold for food.

Added to these disagreements is the fear that the endangered species of the Asian black bear will disappear. “Promoting the use of bear bile risks increasing the volumes collected, not only at the expense of captive bears but also of those who are at large,” said AAF spokesperson, adding that the active ingredient in bear bile can now be produced chemically in the laboratory.

This controversial decision comes at a time when animal protection is becoming more and more necessary in China. Indeed, the metropolis of Shenzen, at the gates of Hong-Kong, has just banned the consumption of cat and dog meat. According to the Humane Society International, no less than 10 million dogs and 4 million cats are slaughtered each year for their meat.