Conservationists Call on China to Support Law Over Tiger Farms
March 30, 2007
organizations involved in tiger conservation around the world today
called on China to maintain its successful ban on tiger trade, after
tiger farm owners yesterday urged the government to reopen trade in
China's 1993 ban on domestic trade of tiger bones has been essential in
contributing to preventing the extinction of wild tigers by curbing
demand in what historically has been the world’s largest consumer
market for tiger parts and products. Lifting the ban would reignite
demand for tiger products and would accelerate the alarming declines of
wild tigers remaining across Asia.
Tiger bone is not needed for traditional Chinese medicine. Key
members of the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) community and leading
TCM practitioners have repeatedly expressed support for the trade ban
and dismiss claims that tiger bone is an essential medicine. Effective
alternatives are now widely available, and demand for tiger bone has
dropped significantly among TCM users. Fewer than 3 percent of TCM
shops across China were found in a recent market survey to offer tiger
bone medicines, suggesting that there is little remaining demand from
legitimate TCM practitioners.
• Tiger farms have zero conservation value.
Tiger farming actually has negative conservation value, since any
legalized trade in tiger products will jeopardize tigers in the wild.
It costs many times more to raise a tiger in captivity than it does to
poach a tiger, so killing wild tigers will always be more economically
attractive. China’s tiger farms now house thousands of semi-tame
tigers, which lack the skills to survive in the wild and which hold no
value to reputable captive breeding programmes.
• Wild tiger populations across Asia cannot
sustain any increased threat from trade. Banning tiger trade over
the last decade has helped reduce poaching pressure on wild tiger
populations. Experts agree, however, that if China legalizes trade in
products from farmed tigers, poaching of wild tigers will certainly
increase. Any legal market will open opportunities for organized
crime syndicates to “launder” poached tiger products as
legal and will make law enforcement far more difficult at a time when
some wild tiger populations cannot withstand any increase in poaching.
• With protection, wild tigers will “breed
like cats.” To survive and thrive, wild tigers need large
forest tracts filled with prey and protected from poachers.
Tigers will do the rest.
American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Animal Welfare Institute
Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Born Free Foundation
Born Free USA
British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Care for the Wild International
David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation
Environmental Investigation Agency
Global Tiger Patrol
Humane Society International
Humane Society of the United States
International Fund for Animal Welfare
Save The Tiger Fund
Species Survival Network
Wildlife Conservation Nepal
Wildlife Conservation Society
Wildlife Protection Society of India
Wildlife Trust of India
World Society for the Protection of Animals