A recent announcement of a new Chinese policy quickly got my attention, and I think it is worth sharing. For the last 25 years, China had banned the use of tiger and rhino body parts. Alarmingly, they just reversed this policy.
The move has been denounced by the United Nations and the World Wildlife Fund. Though the new policy only allows tiger and rhino products from animals raised in captivity, this decision will support a legal market for products which may serve as a cover for an illegal market.
Both tigers and rhinos are threatened species, with wild populations continuing to dwindle. Experts worry that an increased demand for tiger and rhino parts in traditional Chinese medicine will only exacerbate poaching by increasing demand for these products.
The law is still new and open to interpretation, and only time will tell what the actual effects of this policy change will be. Though SPCA International doesn’t work directly with wild animals, we are closely monitoring the issue and invite you to do the same.
Update: Shortly after this publication, China reversed course and temporarily reinstated the ban on tiger bones and Rhino horns. However, a temporary reinstatement is not sufficient. I hope a permanent ban will take hold soon.