China postpones decision on tiger and rhino horn trading | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

15 December, Saturday


China postpones decision on tiger and rhino horn trading

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China has decided to postpone the implementation of new regulations that would allow the trade of tiger parts and the use of rhino horns for reasons such as cultural exchange, scientific research and traditional medicine.

In late October, the State Council reversed a 25-year-old ban on the trade of rhino horns and tiger parts, thereby allowing its regulated use under strict conditions. However, the policy change caused major concern among international wildlife conservation groups.

The State Council announced the postponement of its earlier decision on Monday, citing the results of a study. “The issuance of the detailed regulations for implementation has been postponed after a study,” said State Council Executive Deputy Secretary-General Ding Xuedong.

"The three strict bans will continue to be enforced: the import and export of rhinos, tigers and their byproducts; the sale, purchase, transport, carrying and mailing of rhinos, tigers and their byproducts; and the use of rhino horns and tiger bones in medicine,” Ding told Xinhua.

The rollback caused relief among wildlife groups. A large number of conservationists feared the use of rhino horns and tigers parts in Chinese medicine could drive global demand, leading to large-scale poaching. Both tigers and rhino numbers have sharply declined in the wild.

According to the WWF, only 3,900 tigers and less than 30,000 rhinos now exist in the wild. The Northern White Rhino population has been completely decimated, with only two left. They are currently living under heavy security at an undisclosed location.

“It's critical that a clear message is sent about the acceptability of animal parts in traditional Chinese medicine. With effective alternatives available, opening the door to some uses only muddies the water, and puts every wild rhino and tiger in jeopardy,” Peter Knights, CEO of environment protection group WildAid, told CGTN.

Conservationists are hoping that the ban reversal will be cancelled permanently. “We are encouraged by the delay in implementation so that China can continue to assert its position as an environmental leader,” Knights added.

Animal rights activists have expressed displeasure despite China clearly mentioning in the circular that only the use of farmed tigers and rhino horns would be allowed in medicinal and scientific studies.

According to the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), there are more than 7,000 captive tigers in China, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and South Africa. In China, around 150 companies have permits to sell tiger parts from animals dying in captivity.

Scientific research shows that rhino horn contains the same protein found in human hair and fingernails. In a large part of Asia, local medicine containing rhino horn is promoted as a cure for cancer and hangovers. There is no scientific evidence to support the efficacy of these medicines.

"I would like to reiterate that the Chinese government is willing to work with the international community to jointly strive for protecting wildlife and building our harmonious and beautiful planet," Ding added.

GB Times

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