In a hindrance to the world of Wildlife, China has overturned its 25-year ban that restricts the use of Rhinoceros horns and Tiger bones, allowing the use under “special circumstances.”
A notice issued by the Cabinet on October 19 read that it would “control” the trade and that Rhino horns and Tiger bones are obtainable from farmed animals for the use in “medical research or in healing.” This decision has angered the Wildlife community, with backlash diverted towards China.
"Under the special circumstances, regulation on the sales and use of these products will be strengthened, and any related actions will be authorized, and the trade volume will be strictly controlled," the statement said.
The traditional Chinese medicines exploit Tiger bones and Rhino horn, despite a lack of evidence in their effectiveness in treating ailments, in contrast, influences the wild population. Chinese demand for ivory is also blamed as a driver behind the slaughter of African elephants, despite Beijing banning all trade in ivory starting from this year.
In 2010 the World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies issued a statement saying there was no evidence for the claimed medical benefits of tiger bone.
The World Wildlife Fund said the move to overturn the ban would have "devastating consequences globally" by allowing poachers and smugglers to hide behind the legalized trade.
"With wild tiger and rhino populations at such low levels and facing numerous threats, legalized trade in their parts is simply too great a gamble for China to take," Margaret Kinnaird, WWF wildlife practice leader, was quoted as saying in a statement from the Washington-based organization.
"This decision seems to contradict the leadership China has shown recently in tackling the illegal wildlife trade," Kinnaird said.
Despite the former ban, the Chinese government had not put a stop on Tiger farms that harvest the bones of dead animals and implicitly continuing their sale for alleged medical purposes, according to a study by the Environmental Investigation Agency, a British nonprofit.
Operators are also believed to be investigating the possibility of farming Rhinos in the country, although, unlike Tigers, those are not native to China.
The EIA called the overturning of the ban a "brazen and regressive move which drastically undermines international efforts for tiger and rhino conservation." "At a single stroke, China has shattered its reputation as a growing leader in conservation following its domestic ban on the sale of ivory at the start of the year," the group said
(Inputs from ANI)