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Top legislators debate over whether or not nation should allow the use of dead tiger bodies

(People's Daily Online)    16:44, April 28, 2016
Top legislators debate over whether or not nation should allow the use of dead tiger bodies

During a panel discussion about the revised draft of the Wild Animal Protection Law, deputies of the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s parliament, debated whether wild animals should be available for use in various industries, and if so in what capacity. Some held that the utilizing wild animals in any capacity would upset the public, but others believed that resources like the bodies of dead animals ought to be utilized.

Deputy Yan Xiaopei proposed eliminating the regulations related to wild animal resource utilization given that they contradict the intention of the law, which is to protect wild animals. Deputy Fu Ying seconded Yan’s opinion, adding that the current provisions are rarely taken advantage of anyway.

As for the commercial use of protected wild animals, Deputy Chen Zhu advised caution on issue, especially for high-profile species like tigers.

The South China Tiger is almost gone, and the Siberian Tiger is on the edge of extinction. “It would send a negative message if we allow tigers to be used for food or drug production,” Chen explained.

Chen added that people nowadays have a wide variety of food sources, and the medical value of tiger bones is very limited. Natural products that do have pharmaceutical usage, such as bear gall and musk, can be produced synthetically.

Other NPC deputies voiced different opinions. Deputy Li Fei held that dead tigers should be put to use. “I visited a feline breeding base once. The maintenance fees for dead tiger bodies is several million a year,” he argued.

Li pointed out that a large number of foreign animal advocates are pharmaceutical companies. Driven by political and commercial gain, they are trying to curb the development of traditional Chinese medicine.

Asked about using dead tiger bodies, local forestry authorities insisted that the bodies cannot be used, and that doing so may pose a threat to the safety of living tigers. Deputy Cong Bin suggested a compromise — that only the bodies of tigers that died of natural causes be used for traditional Chinese medicine. However, judicial authorities would still reserve the right to intervene.

Two other deputies expressed the opinion that the law should strike a balance between pragmatism and tough regulation when it comes to wild animal resources. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Hongyu,Wu Chengliang)

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