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China Changes Laws Regarding Trade Of Tiger, Rhino, And Elephant Parts

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China Changes Laws Regarding Trade Of Tiger, Rhino, And Elephant Parts

China has changed the rules regarding the trade of tiger and rhino parts as of 29 October. That means that rhino horns and tiger bones, which are used in Chinese medicine, will be allowed to be used on a limited basis.

This represents a significant change from their total ban on the trade of such parts that had been in effect since 1993.

The new legislation means that parts of animals that have been raised in farms in China can be traded to accredited doctors at certain hospitals.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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Western medical experts say that both tiger bone and rhino horns have no medicinal benefits whatsoever, but they are still often ground into powders to be used in Chinese medicine.

As well as those parts, the controversial practice also uses the genitalia of deer, bulls, as well as parts from snakes and elephant tusks.

Many of the parts come from endangered animals, much to the dismay of conservationists and environmentalists.

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There are less than 32,000 rhinos left - a statistic that covers all existing species - and around 3,900 tigers remain in the wild.

Nearly 7,000 tigers are raised in farms in China, however. It is not known how many rhinos are held in captivity in the country.

Margaret Kinnaird, from the World Wildlife Fund, said in a statement: "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."

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In another statement, Tanya Sanerib from the Centre for Biological Diversity, added: "China's rhino and tiger decision is a huge step backwards for these animals, which are already on the brink of extinction.

"In the midst of poaching crises, China should be working to stem demand, not condoning rhino horn and tiger bones in unproven medical treatments."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA
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It is not known why the Chinese government has decided to change the rules on animal parts. However, it is thought that encouraging the massively lucrative Chinese medicine industry - thought to be worth more than $100 billion (£78.3bn) - could have played a role in the government's thinking.

Chinese state media claimed that the move would actually benefit animals by improving the monitoring of the trade.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Tiger, World News, News, WWF, Wildlife, Elephant, Animals, rhino, China, Medicine

Tom Wood
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