I recently shared a story about the Chinese government’s worrying decision to lift a ban on the use of tiger and rhino parts in traditional Chinese medicine. Now, thankfully, China has decided to keep the ban in place for the time being.
The demand for tiger and rhino parts in traditional Chinese medicine is partially driving the rampant poaching that is pushing both species towards extinction. For centuries, this ancient belief system has taught that the parts from certain animals have special healing properties – despite no evidence to support this (besides a possible placebo effect).
Now that products derived from tiger, rhino, and elephant parts have become important status symbols – and more people in countries like China and Vietnam can afford them – ‘medicinal’ animals are under even more pressure than before.
As such, when China announced its plan to lift the ban on tiger and rhino parts, it generated a massive outcry from conservation groups and concerned citizens. They contended that lifting the ban, even partially, would stimulate additional poaching of these already endangered animals. It seems that those protests may have worked.
According to this story by Michael Martina of Reuters, the Chinese government has postponed the lifting of the ban. They have not said how long this delay will last, nor why they have changed directions, but this is still welcomed news. The original article contains more details on this fortunate turn of events.
Nevertheless, we must stay vigilant. The threats to tigers and rhinos are still very real, and we must continue to voice our disapproval of their poaching; we need to make it clear that it is not acceptable to buy products made from endangered animals.