By Gayne C. Young
Clash Daily Guest Contributor
China recently publicly admitted what most of the world already knew – P.F. Chang’s isn’t really Chinese food.
No. Seriously, the Chinese government announced that it allows the trade of skins from captive tigers.
Although long suspected, this was never verified by government officials or reported to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (Cites). And technically, the matter still hasn’t been “officially” admitted.
Rather, the admission came from a Chinese delegate at the CITES Convention in Geneva who admitted, “We don’t ban trade in tiger skins but we do ban trade in tiger bones.”
In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told BBC he could not verify the reported admission, but he said that his government will “investigate and combat” any illegal trade of tiger skins.
The promise to do this is most unlikely as China is famous for its “tiger farms” which breed the animals for parts. China has an estimated 6,000 tigers in captivity which is twice the number of tigers thought to be found in the wild.
China is raising tigers for sale of their parts and skins –period. The items are sold throughout China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Lao, Cambodia, and Malaysia. The Species Survival Network (SSN) put this problem into perspective best in a released statement that read in part, “Demand-reduction efforts and enforcement and anti-trafficking activities are undermined both by the existence of facilities that keep and breed tigers for commercial purposes, and the lack of enforcement to stop trade from or through them.”
Bottom line? China needs to quit breeding tigers like cattle or the species will go the way of the dodo.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to P.F. Chang’s
Gayne C. Young is the author of the best selling books And Monkeys Threw Crap At Me: Adventures In Hunting, Fishing, And Writing and The Complete Guide To Hunting Wild Boar and Javelina.