China has announced it will legalise domestic trade in antique tiger bone and rhino horn – reversing a 25-year-old ban.
The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) announced their “profound concern” over the changes in the law, which would allow bone and horn products to be traded and used from captive bred animals.
Margaret Kinnaird, WWF Wildlife Practice Leader said: “It is deeply concerning that China has reversed its 25 year old tiger bone and rhino horn ban, allowing a trade that will have devastating consequences globally.
“Trade in tiger bone and rhino horn was banned in 1993. The resumption of a legal market for these products is an enormous setback to efforts to protect tigers and rhinos in the wild.
“China’s experience with the domestic ivory trade has clearly shown the difficulties of trying to control parallel legal and illegal markets for ivory.
“Not only could this lead to the risk of legal trade providing cover to illegal trade, this policy will also stimulate demand that had otherwise declined since the ban was put in place.”
Both tiger bone and rhino horn were removed from the traditional Chinese medicine pharmacopeia in 1993.
The World Federation of Chinese Medicine Societies released a statement in 2010 urging members not to use tiger bone or any other parts from endangered species.