How To Phase Out Tiger Farms

How To Phase Out Tiger Farms

Phasing Out Tiger Farms
Technical Advice For Phasing Out Tiger Farms

The International Tiger Coalition (ITC) is an alliance of environmental, zoo and animal protection organisations and the traditional Chinese medicine community. ITC has experts on conservation breeding management, husbandry, welfare and economics who can provide technical advice on in situ and ex situ tiger conservation and management.

This technical report is in response to requests from Parties and encouragement from the Secretariat (CoP14 Doc 52, Annex 7) to address issues relating to farmed tigers in China should China choose to permanently retain its 1993 ban on domestic trade in tiger parts.  This should also apply to tigers farmed for photo booths and entertainment in the U.S.

Under the present management system, the tigers in tiger farms have little or no conservation value. Hence immediate steps should be taken to reduce their populations.

It is the responsibility of tiger farm owners, and perhaps the government agencies that permitted continued breeding, to humanely provide for and ensure the long term care of these tigers.

Given that tigers in farms are not contributing to conservation of tigers in the wild at present, that only individuals of known and verifiable genetic origin retain any potential to do so in the future, and that the cost of providing appropriate levels of care is very high, this report recommends that efforts begin immediately to reduce and eventually phase out the populations of tigers in farms.

Only a small number of creditable, viable options are available for the tigers currently held in tiger farms. Whatever option for individual animals is decided upon, the first immediate step is to establish a moratorium on any further breeding to stabilize the population. Subsequently, proper assessments are necessary to determine what should happen to each animal. This will determine how many animals fall into the options below, which are set out in no particular order of priority.

1) Those animals which are in an acceptable state of health but do not meet the international criteria necessary for inclusion in a registered, international conservation captive breeding program should be placed in a facility that is suitably equipped to house them in accordance with internationally recognized welfare standards.
2) Those animals which do meet the necessary criteria can be included in a registered international conservation captive breeding program called the Species Survival Plans which are administered through AZA accredited zoos.
3) For those animals which cannot contribute to any conservation program and whose state of health is such that maintaining life is not in the best interest of the animal, humane euthanasia is advised. Their remains should be irretrievably and securely destroyed..

The International Tiger Coalition will offer advice on the technical implementation of each option, drawing upon their own considerable expertise and internationally recognized models and guidelines, including the IUCN Guidelines for the Placement of Confiscated Animals and the husbandry standards provided by AZA, BIAZA, WAZA and ZSL.

Click here for more on the International Tiger Coalition.

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