Famous faces help boost animal rights in China

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BEIJING (AP) -- A rights group says animal welfare is becoming an increasingly trendy concern among ordinary Chinese as celebrities like basketball star Yao Ming speak out against shark fin soup and bear bile tonics.

The founder of the Hong Kong-based Animals Asia Foundation, Jill Robinson, said Tuesday that she's seen interest in animal rights snowball in China over the last few years, spurred by support from celebrity activists like Yao and shifting attitudes among young people.

Robinson spoke at an event in Beijing calling for an end to bear bile farming, the practice of extracting bile from the gall bladders of living bears. Yao threw his support behind the cause last week by visiting one of the group's bear sanctuaries in Sichuan province.