Weakened Chinese law against endangered rhinos and tigers has animal rights activists worried

While China's reversal of a 25-year-old law came as a shock to many, other animal rights activists saw it coming due to the growing number of tiger farms in the country.

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With only only 3,900 tigers and 30,000 rhinos left in the wild, animal rights activists are worried after China announced a reversal of a 25-year old ban on the trading of tiger bone and rhinoceros horn.

The reversal allows the animals parts “to be used for medicine and research at certified hospitals,” EcoWatch reported. Both tiger bone and rhino horn are valued for their use in traditional Cinese medicine. The Chinese government confirmed that both would only be sourced through farms, which have been popping up in droves as recent research revealed.

“With this announcement, the Chinese government has signed a death warrant for imperiled rhinos and tigers in the wild who already face myriad threats to their survival,” Iris Ho, Humane Society International wildlife program and policy senior specialist, said in a statement. “It sets up what is essentially a laundering scheme for illegal tiger bone and rhino horn to enter the marketplace and further perpetuate the demand for these animal parts. This is a devastating blow to our ongoing work to save species from cruel exploitation and extinction, and we implore the Chinese government to reconsider.”

While China’s reversal of a 25-year-old law came as a shock to many, other animal rights activists saw it coming due to the growing number of tiger farms in the country.

“We’ve been concerned for a long time about the tiger farms in China and the increasing numbers of farms there,” Leigh Henry, World Wildlife Fund director of wildlife policy, said. “Captive tigers are incredibly expensive to feed and care for, so as these numbers grew, so did pressure on the Chinese government to allow a regulated trade in tiger products. China’s decision is what many of us have feared for over a decade.”

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