EU wants China to end bear farming

BRUSSELS, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The European Parliament has demanded that China end its farming of bears to extract bile from the animals for use in medicines and cosmetics.

The bile is extracted from the caged bears' gallbladder by means of a metal catheter, reports the BBC.

The European Parliament's resolution was approved by more than half of its 732 members.

"We want China to shut all the bear farms before the 2008 Olympics," said British Member of the European Parliament Peter Skinner.

He said the resolution wanted China to know the way a country treats its animals determined how it is perceived in the rest of the world.

"While there is obviously a lot of attention on China's human rights record, we do not want animal welfare to be forgotten," he said. "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."

China already has closed some farms, but the resolution said there are still about 200 in the country, keeping more than 7,000 Asiatic Black Bears in captivity, the BBC report said.