Credit: Saki Reid

MPs join us to discuss how China can become a champion in big cat conservation

Our Tiger campaigners have briefed UK MPs on the need to close all domestic markets for tiger and other big cat parts, including from farmed animals.

At a special All-Party Parliament China Group event yesterday (2 April), hosted by Rebecca Pow MP, MPs heard how international trade in the body parts of Asia’s endangered tigers and leopards is banned – but that they are still poached for their skins, bones, teeth and claws because of demand among Chinese consumers.

Our campaigners were joined by Indian author and journalist Prerna Bindra to explain how China’s licensed domestic trade in the skins of captive-bred tigers and its thriving legal market in leopard bone wine and pills stimulate demand and undermine enforcement efforts.

Last year, China’s State Council issued an order allowing the use of farmed tiger bone for medicinal purposes but then delayed implementation following an internal and international backlash.

Debbie Banks, our Tiger Campaign Leader, said: “The Chinese Government demonstrated real conservation leadership when it banned the ivory trade in 2017 – it can be a conservation champion again by completely banning the use of tigers and other big cats, including from captive-bred animals.”

Richard Graham MP, Chair of the APPCG, said: “Our aim is to encourage China to take the same leadership role as they showed on the ivory trade ban, and ban the trade in tiger and other big cat parts.”

The 18th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will be held in Sri Lanka in May 2019. Twelve years after the Parties first called for an end to tiger farming, there has been no real progress and the Government of India has proposed a series of urgent actions to move things along, including the closure of domestic markets and the phasing out of tiger farms.

Banks added: “We hope the UK will support the proposals from India that bring some country-specific and time-bound measures to the table. Tigers and other big cats don’t have time for any more prevarication.”