The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has partially reversed a 25-year-old ban on the trade of tiger bones and rhino horns, causing outrage among wildlife conservationists.
The announcement made on Oct. 29, stated that tiger and rhino parts will be legalized for research, medical, cultural uses. Bones and horns can only be obtained from captive or farmed tigers and rhinos.
The Chinese regime has portrayed the reversal as a move to increase oversight on the black market of these products, but critics say it would revitalize an industry that had declined since the ban was put in place in 1993.
“It is deeply concerning that China has reversed its 25-year-old tiger bone and rhino horn ban, allowing a trade that will have devastating consequences globally,” Margaret Kinnaird, WWF Wildlife Practice Leader, said in a statement responding to the Chinese regime’s decision.
Kinnaird said the decision could increase demand for tiger and rhino parts and possibly help hide the illegal trade market of these products under legal trade.
WWF added the legal trade of these tiger and rhino parts would increase confusion by consumers and law enforcers as to which products are and are not legal.
“With wild tiger and rhino populations at such low levels and facing numerous threats, legalized trade in their parts is simply too great a gamble for China to take,” Kinnaird said.
The Humane Society International also expressed concern over the Chinese regime’s decision, calling it a “death warrant for imperiled rhinos and tigers in the wild.”
“It sets up what is essentially a laundering scheme for illegal tiger bone and rhino horn to enter the marketplace and further perpetuate the demand for these animal parts,” Iris Ho, senior specialist for Wildlife Program and Policy, said in a statement.
“This is a devastating blow to our ongoing work to save species from cruel exploitation and extinction, and we implore the Chinese government to reconsider.”
Tigers and rhinos are endangered animals and their parts are considered of great value in traditional medicine and folk remedies. Rhino horns are used to treat ailments like fever, rheumatism, and gout and are believed to be an aphrodisiac. They’re usually ground into a powder, or shaved, then dissolved in boiling water before drinking. Tiger bones are prescribed for rheumatism, ulcers, and other disorders, and can be consumed as wine, pills, or powders.
Rhino horns can fetch between $26,500 and $40,000 for 2.2 pounds in Vietnam or China, according to a 2017 report by the Elephant Action League. Meanwhile, tiger bone in powdered form can be sold for between $64 and $168 per pound, according to Crown Ridge Tigers Sanctuary.
Richard Ellis, the author of the book “Tiger Bone and Rhino Horn,” said there is no clear evidence that rhino horn serves any medical purpose, but millions of people still believe that it does.
“If people want to believe in prayer, acupuncture, or voodoo as a cure for what ails them, there is no reason why they shouldn’t, but if animals are being killed to provide nostrums that have been shown to be useless, then there is a very good reason to curtail the use of rhino horn,” he wrote in a journal article in 2005.
Similarly, there is no evidence of medicinal benefits of tiger bones.
Tiger bone and rhino horn were both removed from the traditional Chinese medicine pharmacopeia in 1993, and the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies released a statement in 2010.
According to WWF, experts estimate that there are more than 6,500 tigers living in China’s tiger farms, far outnumbering the roughly 3,900 remaining in the wild. The Elephant Action League estimates there are about 25,000 rhinos in Africa.
From Epoch Times