Recent medical breakthroughs have produced amazing, mind-blowing discoveries such as facial transplants, bionic eyes, and 3D printed body pieces.
People live longer, are more likely to survive, and there are many cures for many diseases. Modern medicine has brought many benefits, but ancient remedies remain popular in Asia.
Traditional medicine based on plants has been around for many years and will continue. Many herbal remedies have been proven curative and are very popular in many countries.
A huge industry
The traditional Asian medicine industry is valued at billion globally. The World Health Organisation (WHO) supported traditional medicine despite widespread criticism.
Unfortunately, many traditional practices are cruel to wild animals and cause great suffering.
Tradition’s dark side
Traditional Asian medicine is based upon a completely different concept than modern medicine. It has about 2,000 years of history and is extremely important to many people.
Many remedies don’t use wild animal products and are often entirely non-animal. However, some do, and it is not expensive for wildlife.
Bears spend their whole lives in tiny cages, with their bile painfully removed from their abdomens.
The last remaining rhinos are being brutally murdered and their horns chopped off
Pangolins are captured and killed to sell their scales on the black market
The growing trend is poaching and farming lions, tigers, and other large cats.
It is unnecessary. There are many synthetic and plant-based options for these products’ conditions.
The global threat to big cats
Over the past century, big cat populations have fallen into insignificance. The 4,000 mark is the limit for wild tigers. There are only 20,000 remaining wild lions – a decrease of about 250,000 in the past century.
These declines are mainly due to habitat loss, hunting, and conflicts between humans and wildlife. But another danger is the expanding market for their body parts. It is now a global problem because demand for their body parts exceeds supply in Asia.
Jaguars in Suriname
We revealed last year that jaguars in South America are being poached from their wild habitats for this industry, even though they are thousands of miles away in Suriname.
The carcasses of the animals are reduced to a paste and then smuggled into tubs. This is done to treat similar ailments as tiger products.
South Africa’s lion cubs can be walked with lions at tourist locations and peddled. They are then used to ‘canned hunt’, where the hunters pay large sums for a guaranteed kill.
It is believed that more than 6 000 tigers are living on China’s factory-style farms. This is far higher than the wild population. They are kept in concrete, cramped enclosures and cannot behave naturally. This makes them mentally and physically disabled.
They are forced to perform tricks on tourists, and then they drink tonics and wines made with bones from their ancestors. This is exploitation at its worst and cruellest.
Big cat farms are not good for wildlife conservation.
It is often believed that big cat farms reduce pressure on wild animals. This belief is false. Our latest study revealed that great cat products made from wild cats are preferred over farmed. Nearly nine out of ten Vietnamese and more than half the Chinese consumers confirmed this.
Farms are cruel and should be stopped. They also encourage the poaching of wild animals and the market growth for these products.
It’s an uphill struggle.
Although we are trying to save these animals as much as possible, it is a difficult task. Think about why China banned domestic trade in rhino horns or tiger bones 25 years ago. This gave these amazing animals an important lifeline.
Last year, the ban was lifted to allow medical treatment for farmed tiger parts. This would have a reversal of years of progress. We are concerned that this temporary measure will be put on hold, even though it has been.
Whether they’re taken from the Amazon or the plains of Africa, big cats are wildlife and not medicine.
We, our supporters, and many others agree that these amazing animals deserve wildlife and belong in it.