Text RNOR11 £3
to 70070
(£1 - £5 & £10)

Suffering species

In addition to the many threats species face, some species are targeted directly. Animals are hunted and killed for meat, to become pets or ornaments, or because their body parts are believed to have medicinal properties.

It is not only the rhino that is suffering. Many species targeted for medicine are endangered, some critically, and any trade in them is illegal. It is possible that it is the presence of such an acute threat that is driving them to extinction and emptying the world’s remaining habitats of life.

Species used in traditional Asian medicines include: Rhinos, bears, tigers, musk deer, sea lions and seals, pangolins and seahorses. These are only a small handful of species targeted for medicinal uses.

Tiger © RhiNOremedy
Seahorse © RhiNOremedy

Tragically, there are no laws to protect or ensure satisfactory care of captive animals in China. There is much evidence and concern about the chronic suffering of animals farmed to supply the medicine market, in particular bears and tigers.

The presence of bear and tiger farms in Asia has also done nothing to reduce the poaching of these animals in the wild. International illegal trade continues to grow. In reality, the presence of farms and the produce they supply acts to increase demand just through increasing interest and availability. There is also no way of distinguishing farmed products from those from wild animals. Poaching wild animals will always be the cheaper and more profitable option. Finally, there is also always the belief that wild produce is ‘more potent’ and more desirable, thus sealing the fate of wild individuals.

For all of the ailments which endangered species are targeted to treat, there are alternatives (herbal and synthetic) which very often are cheaper, more accessible and most importantly, many alternatives are actually proven to be effective.

There is no longer any need or justification for the killing or suffering of endangered species for medicine.

Key resources for further reading:

Richard Ellis (2005) Tiger bone and rhino horn, the destruction of wildlife for traditional Chinese Medicine. Island Press.

WWF: The facts and fallacies of tiger farming (PDF)