China bans the sale of food made from endangered species

Le autorità della Cina hanno approvato una legge che vieta la vendita di cibi a base di animali a rischio di estinzione. Ma la norma non convince tutti.

China will be no longer able to sell food made from endangered animals. Beijing’s Parliament approved a new law to protect wild species, with the aim of strengthening the regulatory framekork.

Orsi bruni Cina
Two brown bears. Their bile is used in traditional Chinese medicine ©Vcg/Getty Images

Chinese authorities have taken a historic step forward. The first law for the protection of animals dates back to 1989 and was revised only once (in 2004) for disciplining exportations of products derived from wild species. The new regulation will enter into force on 1 January 2017 and introduces a ban on the production and sale of food made from endangered species, according to AFP quoting the National People’s Congress.

NGOs’ criticisms

However, what turned non-governmental organisations’ nose is that some products derived from these species could be still sold, bought and used. NGOs had already harshly criticised a preliminary draft that considered endangered animals – including tigers and bears – as commercial resources, without banning slaughter completely. According to the Environmental Investigation Agency, the new law doesn’t halt captive breeding.

Tigri cina
There are at least 6,000 tigers bred in captivity in China ©Feature China/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

Environmentalists also criticised the fact that the law makes no distinction between “food” and “product”, thus allowing loopholes. On the other hand, official Yue Zhongming claimed that “under the new law the use of wild animals and derived products should rely mainly on captive-bred animals, and it must not hurt wild populations and habitats”.

6,000 tigers are held in captivity

The enforcement of the new law will show if China will be able to carry out the change it really needs. The number of captive-bred tigers has significantly increased over the past few years, hitting 6,000 individuals. Bears are bred for their bile that is used in traditional medicine. In economic terms, just note that captivity breeding is worth 7.8 billion Chinese yuan, i.e. about 1.05 billion euros.

Featured image  ©Hong Wu/Getty Images

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