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25 year ban on animal parts lifted

by Courtney Deeren - Copy Editor
Tue, Nov 6th 2018 10:55 pm
Age old ban reversed China has lifted a ban on selling tiger and rhino parts as a part of traditional Chinese medicine. The ban was more than 20 years old, and will now make it legal to trade parts from farmed animals such as rhinos and tigers.
Age old ban reversed China has lifted a ban on selling tiger and rhino parts as a part of traditional Chinese medicine. The ban was more than 20 years old, and will now make it legal to trade parts from farmed animals such as rhinos and tigers.

On Monday, Oct. 29 the Chinese government made moves to reverse a 1993 ban on trading tiger and rhino parts. Conservationists fear the serious implications this will have on the nearly extinct species, according to The Washington Post. This lift is specifically for farmed animals, with wild source imports still being restricted by international restrictions. However, the situation still raises concerns, because it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between farmed and poached animals.

According to The Washington Post, Wildlife Practice Leader Margaret Kinnaird said, “Not only could this lead to the risk of legal trade providing cover to illegal trade, this policy will also stimulate demand that had otherwise declined since the ban was put in place.”

The biggest concern is over the fact that both of these animals are still endangered in many places around the world. According to Motherboard, this ban is to allow for these animal parts to be used for medicine.

Tiger and rhino parts have important properties in traditional chinese medicine, but since the ban their uses have been hindered. Time reports that rhino bones are used to treat fevers and food poisoning, while tiger bones are ground and put into wine and are thought to increase masculinity as well as improve health.

Chief Scientist and Tiger Program Senior Director for Panthera, the global wild cat conservation organization, John Goodrich spoke about  this in an interview with Motherboard.

“If anything, it’s gotten way worse in the past decade. Wildlife trading has really taken off,” Goodrich also said “it’s gone off like crazy in the last 10 years—and that includes rhinos and tigers.”

Goodrich stressed that legal trading markets could become potential covers for illegal trades. This decision comes as a shock to many as the Chinese government has recently made strides in conservation efforts for other animals, such as elephants, banning the ivory trade.

Colman O’Criodain, a wildlife trade specialist at the World Wildlife Fund said “If a poachers think that there’s even a possibility of laundering the product, that will be enough to increase their activities. Basically, people are betting on extinction,” according to Time.

A major argument on this issue, hinges on the practice of traditional chinese medicine. There is a clash of culture and preservation that is happening as a part of the lift of this ban. While it is important to preserve culture and history, it is also important to continue preserving the earth and all of its inhabitants.

According to National Geographic, conservationists have used statistical data, similar to that used to identify death rates, to figure out how many known species have gone extinct due to humans. Approximately 100 to 1,000 species are lost per year for reasons such as habitat destruction and climate change, all on behalf of humans. If more steps are not made toward conservation, many more species could be lost.

The lift of this ban in China seems to be a step back, but the root of the issue goes deeper, just because something is illegal doesn’t mean everyone follows the rules. We have to be better not only for future generations, but also for the current state of the earth and its living organisms, before it’s too late.