Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Petition: Bile is extracted from bears at Chinese bear farms.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2000]
Origins: In response to the question "Is this petition real?" we propose that audiences consider four separate questions:
2) Yes, this petition includes instructions that it should be forwarded to a central e-mail address every time 100 "signatures" have been collected.
3) No, this petition says nothing about how it will be used. It offers no information to tell us who will deliver it, how it will be delivered, when it will be delivered, or to whom it will be presented.
4) The lack of information about #3 makes it difficult to gauge the likelihood of success of this petition, but the attitude of the probable recipients (the Chinese government) is something to be considered: How will they react to a petition demanding the "immediate end of the horrific 'Bile Farms'"? How sensitive are they to (international) public pressure? How are bear farms regarded by the cultures in which they exist? Does the fact that these farms continue to profit because their products have ready buyers indicate that these cultures find bear farms less abhorrent than we do? These are important points to consider, but the petition doesn't address
In general, people consider petitions such as this one to be beneficial even if they produce no real results, because they raise social awareness and provide an outlet for those who feel strongly about issues and want to have a sense that they're "doing something" about them. The drawbacks to this approach have to be taken into account as well, however. Think about how Americans would react if their government were delivered a petition signed by thousands of Hindus, demanding an end to the practice of raising cattle for beef. Would such a petition raise Americans' social conscience about an important "animal rights" issue, or would it be more likely to inflame them to the point of strongly uniting against an idea that might have succeeded with a less confrontational approach?
We have no "right" answers to offer; it's up to individuals to consider all the issues involved and decide whether signing this petition is the right thing to do. We will point out a recent newswire story (linked below) indicates that China has already "pledged to rescue
China to Rescue 500 Captive Bears, End Bile Farms (CNN.com) Last updated: 15 December 2007
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