Good News For Animal Lovers

BREAKING NEWS: Bear bile replacement breakthrough in China

06 August 2015

Taken from:
https://www.animalsasia.org/uk/media/news/news-archive/bear-bile-replacement-breakthrough-in-china.html

Hopes for an end to China’s bear bile farms have been boosted as Chinese manufacturer Kaibao Pharmaceuticals announced it has successfully synthesised a substitute for use in traditional medicine.

Animal welfare charity Animals Asia is calling it a step that could eventually save thousands of protected moon bears from farms.

In addition, with Kaibao’s project being backed by the Chinese government – Animals Asia believes it shows a clear intent at the highest levels to move away from the current extraction of bile from bears. This is also in accordance with statements by China’s President Xi Jinping to create an “eco civilisation” and a “green China”.

State-run media Wen Hui News this week ran a prominent article on the breakthrough acknowledging the current format of bear bile production as incompatible with animal protection and conservation.

Wen Hui News reported:

“In recent years, some bear species numbers have been reduced due to the bear bile trade, and the emergence of bear bile farming cannot serve as a sustainable solution to medicines made from animals. The medical field is faced with an ethical dilemma between animal protection and human needs.”

“Kaibao Pharmaceuticals’ project, first announced last year, is heavily backed by state funds having attracted more than US$1.8 million in government funding.”

Animals Asia founder and CEO, Jill Robinson MBE said:

“This project has the potential to drastically scale back China’s bear bile industry by providing an alternatively-sourced product that traditional medicinal practitioners and patients are happy to use.

“The fact that it is government-funded and sanctioned is hugely important. It shows that both businessmen and policy makers have realised there is no future in bear bile farming and are actively seeking ways to make it obsolete.”

While ursodeoxycholic acid, the active ingredient in bear bile, has long been artificially produced around the world for use in health care, the entire chemical make up of bear bile has never been successfully synthesised.

Kaibao Pharmaceuticals is currently the number one consumer of bear bile purchasing around 18 tonnes of powdered bile annually, approximately half of all purchased. The new artificial bear bile is created using poultry bile.

Over 10,000 bears are currently believed to be held on industrial scale bile farms around China. The animals are kept in highly unsuitable conditions with little regard for their welfare and endure regular bile extraction.

Hong Kong-based charity Animals Asia runs two bear sanctuaries for bears rescued from the bile industry. Since 1998, the NGO has rescued over 500 bears and offers them a lifetime of care in rescue centres in Chengdu, China, and Tam Dao, Vietnam. They have been campaigning to end bear bile farming for over 17 years.

Dave Neale, Animals Asia’s Animal Welfare Director said:

“For those of us who choose to live cruelty free lives – pharmaceuticals offer their own dilemma. Not just for our own use but also for the people we care for. The vast majority of mass-produced drugs contain either animal products or are tested on animals.

“The campaign to make medical and pharmaceuticals industries cruelty free is a global one. The pragmatic view in this case is it’s unlikely chickens will be killed specifically for these drugs as chicken bile is already available as a byproduct of meat processing – while its introduction is likely to help end the suffering of thousands of bears.

“With that in mind we welcome this move by Kaibao and the Chinese government as a step in the right direction. Clearly we also believe that all industries worldwide utilising animals, ultimately have to go further. In that respect pharmaceuticals join a long list of products including food, cosmetics and clothing – but what we are seeing here is undoubtedly progress.

“While it would make little economic sense to breed chickens specifically for bile – should that ever prove to be the case then obviously our position would change.”

Find out more here:
https://www.animalsasia.org/uk/media/news/news-archive/bear-bile-replacement-breakthrough-in-china.html

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There are quite a few people suffering at the moment whether it’s with hay fever or flue-like problems. Some people don’t seem to know what a tissue or handkerchief is, however. I’ve had a few people calling me who have been sniffing down the phone. It’s horrible. It’s disgusting. It’s sickening. One of the days I’m going to puke all over the phone.

You can hear if the person is bunged up – the sniff is dry and prolonged. And you can hear if they have a runny nose – it’s shorter, fuller, louder, and nauseating!

Please people if you are phoning me, please, please, please, blow your nose before hand.

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Derogatory Additions To Names

I expect a lot of people have seen the news about a gentleman who had a derogatory addition to his surname. It was in the news recently and a great deal on social media. Not a nice thing to happen at all. I can’t see anyone enjoying getting a letter with that kind of thing on there. Fortunately it doesn’t happen very often. Although saying that, there are many occurrences of letters being sent out to people who have passed away. Also offensive.

The media have been saying that this offensive addition to the gentleman’s surname was deliberate. But was it? From what I’ve read there is an investigation underway at the moment. But what possible reason would an agent have to do this? If the agent was someone who was just plain and straight forward prejudiced against skins of a particular colour, or particular religion, then surely it would have been spotted well before hand. I can’t see a large company keeping on an agent who is prejudiced, or in fact, a person applying to work at a multi-cultural company if they were prejudiced. Doesn’t make sense either way.

Working in a call centre myself I know first hand how bad it can be on the phones. I often have people coming through and I ask them for their name and haven’t got a clue what they’ve said. Whether it’s a bad line, a strong accent, speaking too quickly, or someone covering the mouth piece, there have been times where I’ve been completely stumped. I’ve begun the call by calling them what I thought they said only to be told quietly bluntly that I’m wrong!

Some customer don’t understand what ‘initial’ means. So when I ask for an initial they spell out their name. I’ve had customers give me their full names – first, middle, last – all in one breath. It can be quite difficult at times, and it’s very common for us to have to ask a customer to spell out their surname and then spell out their first name. Just so that we can understand them.

Is this what happened in this unfortunate case? Was it just a matter of the agent not understanding the customer? It’s interesting to note that at my company there is a split with what people think between those on the phones and that those who aren’t. Those of us on the phones are all saying this couldn’t possibly have been done deliberately – it’s just too easy for us to hear the wrong information. While those who are not on the phones are all saying it was deliberately done.

The only reason I can see for this to have been done deliberate is if the agent had just had enough. I’m not saying that this is what happened here. I don’t know. And I’m certainly not saying that this customer was aggressive. Again I don’t know. But having worked on the phones for so long I’ve had my fair share of abusive customers and it would be so easy to want to get my own back. I never have. But there have been times when the temptation has been very strong.

I had a customer complain that I was heavy breathing. I had a cold and because I was breathing through my mouth he could hear it. Another customer complained about the same thing with one of my colleagues who had asthma. This is blatant prejudice towards us when we are not well. One customer complained about a colleague who asked him to call back. He wanted to speak to an English person but everyone was on the phone as it was particularly busy. My Nigerian colleague asked him to call back later when it was a bit quieter and he may get an English person. He called back and complained about her. This again was prejudice.

What is annoying is that the company upholds the complaints from the customers. Customers come first. It should not be happening. Customers should not be treating agents in this manner. We are not pieces of dirt. Some customers are extremely offensive, aggressive, bullying, prejudicial, swearing, and downright nasty. Agents are human beings. I got to the end of my tether a few times. I got into trouble raising my voice to one woman who was insulting me and shouting at me. We can only take so much before we snap. Is this what happened in the news item recently? I will be very interested to see what the investigation uncovers.


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