China Is No Friend to the Animals

March 09, 2008 04:52 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Authorities are cracking down on the illegal wildlife trade in China, but animal rights efforts in the country still have a long way to go.

30-Second Summary

Animal rights campaigns are barely existent in China, a country with increasing numbers of endangered species.

In 2006, Zhou Ping, of the National People’s Congress in China, put forth China’s first animal welfare law, but her proposal went nowhere and hasn’t made progress since.

The problem may lie in the popularity of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which uses animal and plant parts to treat a variety of conditions.

The Asiatic black bear bile, for instance, is harvested from live black bears and used to treat liver problems, headaches and other conditions.

These traditional treatments are also responsible for the increasing numbers of endangered animals in China.
Although Ping’s animal welfare law has not caught on, the country has recently cracked down on Web sites that trade in illegal animal products, reports National Geographic.

Two of the most popular illegal items sold online are ivory and tiger bone, which are used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat rheumatism.
Ivory, tiger bone, rhino horn, tortoise shell and antelope horn are all subject to the Chinese ban. Nevertheless, these items are being cleverly disguised and sold on Web sites and in markets.

Despite some of its objectionable animal ingredients, TCM is being taking seriously by some western doctors, according to The Times of London.

British Dr. Stephen Minger recently traveled to Shanghai to discuss traditional Chinese treatments that encourage brain cell growth and, Minger believes, may effectively treat devastating diseases like Alzheimer’s.

Headline Links: Animal rights in China

Related Topics: Chinese medicine and the illegal wildlife trade

The illegal wildlife trade

Reference: Animal parts in Chinese medicine and the Asiatic black bear


Most Recent Beyond The Headlines