tiger bones are medicinal? bogus!

The Independent July 30, 2014


Last week I saw Gordon Buchanan present his “Lost Adventures” talk at the Royal Geographic Society, and towards the end he spent some time on the topic of  tigers.  His experiences of filming wild tigers in India was so moving, but I will never forget when he said that it’s “bogus” that the Chinese are using the bones of these beautiful cats in their traditional medicines.  Too right Gordon.

In my opinion, tiger bones are only magical when they’re left inside a living healthy tiger.

The topic of Chinese culture and their abuse of animals, especially for medicinal purposes is one that gets me pretty fired up.  I want to stress that everything I write here are purely my own views, but I am 100% flabbergasted that anyone in this day and age can believe killing any animal, especially a species on the brink of extinction for ‘medicinal’ purposes, is ok.

We have no right to drive animals to extinction.

And it’s not just the Chinese either, the Americans are the 2nd largest consumer of Chinese medicines.  There is even tiger bone wine for £200 a bottle, which is very popular amongst China’s elite and businessmen.

Last year The Independent ran a whole week of articles on tigers.  This particular one from July 30, 2014 sums it all up in the title “Bred For Bones on China’s Tiger Farms”.

The trade in tiger parts was banned in China in 1993, but 12 years later, the demand has not only increased, but tiger farms are legal.  According to this article, “there are more tigers in Chinese tiger farms than exist in the wild in the rest of the world.”

That’s bogus alright!

These animals when in the wild would normally live solitarily in expansive territories; but in China, they are kept 5 or 6 to a cage, literally piled up on each other, starving, kept barely alive purely for their skins and bones to be later sold as an expensive ingredient into wine and medicines.

Screen shot 2015-03-21 at 15.03.50

Photo courtesy of WSPI / Tiger Time

And in China, the domestic trade of tiger skins is legal if they are from captive bred tigers.  Apparently the more rare and endangered the species, the more coveted these skins are, which has fuelled the illegal poaching of tigers and snow leopards in India, Pakistan and Nepal.  And although China’s younger generations are starting to speak up against these practices, there is still a divide amongst them that if the skins are from tiger farms it’s ok.

As I always say, I believe each and everyone of us CAN make a difference. It goes without saying don’t support these practices by buying any animal skins or parts, especially any on the endangered species list.

Here’s my contribution, no matter how small or naive some may think this is, I have never and will never go to China.  I won’t give them my tourist dollars.

I don’t buy Chinese medicines.

I don’t buy any clothes and shoes made in China anymore – this used to be hard, but living in Europe there are so many other places to get your clothes from – it’s easy! just check the label before buying!

And I’m trying the best I can not to buy anything else made in China, which is pretty hard, but places like Turkey, Portugal, and India are making good alternatives.


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