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China bear gall bladder wildlife medicine VOX pop.

Would you take medicine containing products from endangered species such as tigers and bears?

Traditional Chinese Medicine has long used ingredients such as tiger bone, bear gallbladder and rhinoceros horn, in its remedies. But their popularity is on the decline in China. Rising public awareness of wildlife protection, better health care, tougher laws protecting endangered species, as well as the threat of SARS and bird flu, has seen some Chinese turn their backs on exotic cures. BBC Wildlife asked for some opinions.

Wang Zhouqiong, 26, civil servant from Zhengzhou, Henan Province "I think there are better western medicines and other traditional Chinese medicines that don't contain wild animal products that can be used. Also, as the government bans the use of wild animals for medicine, it is not safe to take medicines made from wild animals because they might be fake products."

Wu Wenzhi, 54, office cleaner, Xiaoxing 'An Ling, Heilongjiang Province "I wouldn't do it because I don't believe the medicine would work. Maybe the people who sell the tiger medicine are selling fake products. Maybe the medicine is made of other things and could be very dangerous. Besides, my health is very good."

Yang Yaoxin, 24, graphic designer, Chaoyang district, Beijing

"The medicine you're talking about is from thousands of years ago. Traditional medicine can be good for you, but people feel bad about using medicine with tiger or bear in it. It's too sad to kill these animals. And if people do, then they will be arrested by the government." Dai Baoqiang, 34, driver, Pinggu district, Beijing

"I would take such medicines if I needed to. I first used traditional Chinese medicine when I had a skin problem and a member of my family suggested I go to the Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital. The medicine I got there worked, although it was slow compared to western medicine."

BY DAVID EIMER, in Beijing
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Author:Eimer, David
Publication:International News
Geographic Code:9CHIN
Date:Apr 1, 2006
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