Originally Posted by DrakkarTyrannis
Well if nothing else it's the placebo effect. They think it works and for some it might. Does that make it okay? To us, no. I certainly think it's completely useless and just stupid, not to mention cruel to the animals. However to "tread" on another culture is a dangerous issue because even though we see this custom as needless and stupid (which from our perspective is hard to see any other way), they see it as valid. It would be nice if they eventually saw it as a stupid custom that should be done away with, I'm just saying don't hold your breath waiting for it.
I don't think that he has an issue with 'Chinese culture', well since I can't speak for him, I'll say that I personally don't have an issue with Chinese culture, but I do take issue with cruel things like what's being done to those bears in question.
If they think that it works, and want to continue doing it, then it'd be best if double blind studies could/would be done to prove if it even actually has an effect (dollars to doughnuts it doesn't), as opposed to blindly continuing to do what is so obviously cruel. That's not even taking into account what we value the necessity of it to be. If something so blatantly cruel is going on, then it makes perfect sense to question if it's really necessary/accomplishing what's going on, all cultural differences aside. All it takes is empathy, would you like be cut into, thrown into a cage, and have your bladder milked for years? No, go figure. You should probably make sure that you actually should be doing it/that you're even accomplishing what the intended goal is.
It is a strange gray-area of sorts, but I don't think that there's anything culturally-insensitive about questioning actions that are so obviously harmful to the the welfare of other living, thinking, feeling beings.