In China, tigers in captivity are known to be starved with the sole aim of collecting their bones for use in wine production. However, the farm owners who do this avoid international laws and their actions are completely legal.
In 1993, China signed an agreement banning the use of tiger bones on the territory, in order to protect the species. Nevertheless, the tiger wine trade is still allowed and appreciated by Chinese high social classes. Although it is forbidden to kill the animal for its bones, retrieving them from a feline’s carcass following its death from “natural causes” is permitted.
This legal loophole allows farm owners to continue their activities without any interference, since they don’t kill the animal themselves. Kept in confined spaces, with very little, or no water, food or care, the felines finally succumb to the mistreatments that they suffer. The number of such farms in this country could even increase in line with demand for wine.
This drink’s main ingredient is rice wine, which tiger carcasses have been soaked in for many months. As well as being a symbol of high social status, the wine is also appreciated for its alleged medicinal virtues. Indeed, Chinese Traditional Medicine attributes healing properties to the feline’s bones, linking them especially to the treatment of rheumatism and arthritis.
The country, which adopts a paradoxical position regarding tiger products, is strongly criticized by the international community, as well as by a large number of Chinese citizens. However, the stakes linked to this traffic are high, as is the pressure exerted by those who are involved in it, and the amount of money generated from this trade. This is why – if China doesn’t make strict decisions and hand down landmark convictions – it will be difficult to truly reduce the supply and demand for tiger parts and stop this massacre.
In Vietnam, our partner organisation Education for Nature (ENV) carries out actions to reduce the illegal trafficking of tiger-based products and uses educational campaigns (TV, radio, advertisements…) to encourage the population to combat this outrage. The NGO diffuses them to a wide audience in the media or on the Web, and also through information stands. Finally, ENV works to strengthen legislation with the appropriate authorities to prioritize tiger protection.
© Education for Nature – Vietnam