China legalizes rhino horn and tiger bone for medical purposes
The materials have no proven medicinal value in humans, and conservationists call the move a major setback for wild populations.
In China, rhino horn and tiger bone may now be legally used in medical research or traditional medicine following a controversial announcement by the government this morning. The animal specimens may be obtained only from farms, according to the announcement, but conservationists say this surprising move may open the floodgates for a surge in illegal activity and threaten vulnerable animal populations.
The move is “very concerning,” says Leigh Henry, director of wildlife policy at the World Wildlife Fund. Discerning what animals were obtained legally from farms rather than illegally from the wild would be incredibly difficult, so this decision would give cover to traffickers, she says. Rhinos and tigers are both endangered in the wild, and their trade is