Legalising the use of bones for medicinal purposes could lead to increased poaching.
Legalising the use of tiger bones could lead to increased poaching
Campaigners have called on the Chinese government to reverse fully its decision to legalise the use of tiger bones and rhino horns, from captivebred animals, for medicinal purposes.
The Global Tiger Forum, which represents seven tiger-range countries, released a joint statement with WWF India saying the order “could have devastating impacts on efforts to conserve tigers and rhinos in the wild.”
According to Debbie Banks of the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), despite the Chinese government banning all trade in tiger and rhino body parts in 1993, the farming of tigers for their bones and skin has effectively been tolerated since 2005.
The order to legalise the farming of tigers and rhinos for body parts came in October 2018, but by November there was a statement, attributed to State Council executive deputy secretarygeneral Ding Xuedong, in which he said that “the issuance of the detailed regulations for implementation has been postponed after study.”
But Banks isn’t celebrating just yet. “The October order has not been repealed or reversed,” she says, “but this is very ambiguous. What does ‘after study’ mean? We’re not sure.”
She says the EIA opposes the trade in tiger and rhino body parts from captive-bred animals, because it perpetuates the desirability of these products and stimulates demand. “Where you expand that demand, then you risk increasing the poaching and trafficking of wild tigers and rhinos. And when it comes to consumers using bones for medicinal purposes, unfortunately, there is a preference for those from wild tigers.”
There are estimated to be more than 5,000 tigers in captive facilities across China – while the entire world’s wild population is as few as 3,500. One farm, founded in the 1980s, is known to have more than
1,000 animals. James Fair
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Read the EIA’s investigation into China’s tiger body-part trade: bit.ly/chinatigertrade
Tigers are Endangered and illegal hunting is already a major threat. Below: tiger and rhino body parts for sale.