Has China Quietly Approved Trade in Tiger ‘Products’?

Has China Quietly Approved Trade in Tiger ‘Products’?

Written by Rhishja Larson

Published on September 3rd, 2009

Disturbing information suggests that the wording of a Chinese forestry administration document is ambiguous enough to allow trade in products derived from critically endangered tigers.

According to The Times UK, wildlife trade monitoring network TRAFFIC has sounded the alarm about a document issued by the Chinese State Forestry Administration, warning that the wording is “loose” enough to encourage China’s deplorable tiger farmers to begin processing tiger-derived products.

Xu Hongfa, of TRAFFIC explains how the loophole could be exploited.

I think these words could be used as a cover by tiger farmers to make tiger bone wine and they would try to argue that it doesn’t just refer to skins.

Although the document was initially issued in December 2007 to allow trade in “legally obtained tiger and leopard skins”, Chinese officials worked hard to remove nearly every internet reference to the ruling prior to the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, in order to avoid international scrutiny.

Conservationists are in agreement that any legal trade would drive the few remaining wild tigers to extinction. Wildlife Trust of India’s Ashok Kumar was surprised by the existence of the Chinese trade document.

In all our communications with the Chinese we have been led to believe that the ban is firmly in place … We were not aware of this document, [which] could have a huge effect on wild tigers in India by stimulating demand for medicines in China.

Enough is enough

Isn’t it time to get past this notion of “cultural sensitivity” and hold the Chinese government publicly accountable for what their country’s mindless consumption has done to the world’s tiger population?




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