The Chinese government has added a product containing bear bile to treat critical COVID-19 cases. After temporarily banning the wildlife trade in the country, the China National Health Commission published a list of recommended coronavirus treatments. Wildlife conservation advocates are upset over the mismatch in messaging by the government.
Tan Re Qing, a substance containing bear bile, is normally used to treat bronchitis and other respiratory infections. There’s no evidence that bear bile treats coronavirus. In China, it’s legal to collect bear bile from captive bears, but not from wild bears. But wild bears are still caught illegally and are still at risk due to increased demand.
Aron White, wildlife campaigner for the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) told National Geographic, “There’s a consistent preference among consumers for the wild product, which is often regarded as more powerful or ‘the real deal,’” White says. “So, having this legal market from captivity doesn’t reduce pressure on the wild populations—it actually just maintains demand that drives poaching.”
The irony of treating a disease caused by animals by killing animals to treat it is not lost on activists. Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, Global Head of Wildlife Research and Animal Welfare of the animal charity World Animal Protection told the MailOnline, “It’s tragic and ironic that the recommended treatment for severe cases of COVID-19 is suggesting the consumption of a wild animal product in response to a pandemic born from handling wild animals.”
Learn more about bear bile in One Green Planet, check out these articles:
- 5 Ways You Can Help End Bear Bile Farming
- Poachers in Florida are Killing Bears for the Bear Bile Trade
- Exposed: Illegal Bear Bile Trafficking Network in Asia
- How Grassroots Work to End Bear Bile Farming is Helping Vietnam Stop the Cruelty for Good
Scientists believe that the spread of COVID-19, or coronavirus, started at an exotic animal market in Wuhan, China. You can help stop the incidence of viruses like these by signing this petition to ban the wildlife trade.
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Catch up on our coronavirus coverage in One Green Planet, check out these articles:
- China Acts on Coronavirus and Temporarily Bans Wildlife Trade
- Coronavirus Update: Chinese Citizens Begin Disposing of Pets, Footage of Corpses Lining Street
- Coronavirus Update: Indonesians Called to Stop Eating Bats and Animal Activists Saving Pets in China
- Coronavirus Update: World Global Emissions Have Dropped
- How Coronavirus and the Wildlife Trade are Linked
- Coronavirus Update: How Emerging Diseases are Linked to Factory Farms
- Coronavirus Update: Death Toll Surpasses SARS
- Coronavirus Update: Quarantined Patients Given Turtles for Dinner In Spite of Virus Being Linked to Wild Animal Trade!
- Coronavirus Update: Pangolins Blamed for Spreading Virus
- Chinese Citizens Being Ordered to Dispose of Pets Despite Any Connection with Coronavirus Outbreak
- Coronavirus Update: Your Pets are Not in Danger
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