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June 13, 2010

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Home » Feature » Animal Planet

Alibaba bans sale of bear bile products

ANIMALS Asia Foundation has welcomed a decision by Limited, which runs the world's largest online business-to-business e-commerce site, to ban subscribers from listing bear bile products, as well as the fur and meat of cats and dogs.

The ban applies to users of, which has an international site in English and a Chinese site, and its separate sister operation,, a Chinese-language consumer e-commerce site that operates almost exclusively within China.

Profound impact

Animals Asia Founder and CEO, Jill Robinson, who has campaigned against the cruel bear bile industry since visiting a bear farm in China in 1993, said's decision could have profound implications, not only for bears, dogs and cats, but for the welfare of all animals.

"We've named one of our newly rescued bears 'Alibaba' in appreciation of all they're doing to end this terrible industry and to mark the significance of the ban. We now hope that other online traders will follow's lead."

According to Robinson, it was Alibaba who came to the foundation with their decision to ban bear bile, after it approached them about cat and dog products.

Robinson said Animals Asia would be asking its supporters to help monitor and as she realized it was impossible for the online portal's staff to catch every new listing. "The people at Alibaba invited us to their AGM in Shenzhen (last month) where they announced the bear bile ban. This is a major international group that was founded in China -- that's what makes this so exciting."

Animals Asia rescued "Alibaba," along with nine other bears, from a bile farm in Shandong Province last month, driving 2,400 kilometers west across China to bring the bears to a sanctuary in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. "Alibaba," estimated to be around five years old, was kept in a small cage for years and regularly milked for his bile for the traditional medicine trade. He has chronic dental problems, scarring on his forehead from frustrated bar-rubbing, and his damaged gall bladder (from which his bile was milked through a filthy catheter that exited from his belly) will be removed by Animals Asia's vet team next week.

Robinson said the company's decision to ban not only bear bile, but dog and cat meat and fur, too, was inspirational.

Alibaba CEO David Wei told hundreds of shareholders that "he felt he had a corporate duty to help save the bears, otherwise his son may see moon bears, but his grandson might only see them in pictures and documentaries."


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