Report: Chinese Drugmakers Using Endangered Animal Parts as Ingredients

    Photo: Unsplash

    The Facts

    • Three listed Chinese pharma firms — Beijing Tong Ren Tang, Tianjin Pharmaceutical, and Jilin Aodong Pharmaceutical Group — are using endangered animal parts as ingredients in their products, according to a report published by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) on Monday.

    • The three drugmakers are among 72 that the report claims have used body parts from leopards and pangolins — two species facing threat of extinction — in at least 88 traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) products.


    The Spin

    Pro-China narrative

    Wildlife products hold particular significance in Chinese culture and economy, though global forces are using the pretext of animal welfare to attack traditional Chinese medicines. China is currently exploring ways to minimize damage to the ecology, including implementing a permanent ban on wildlife trade and consumption. There is no reason to embroil TCM with these other complex debates.

    Anti-China narrative

    China is the world's largest illegal wildlife products market and has driven the growth of animal farms where wildlife species are bred in captivity. If the PRC is serious about protecting species from extinction and reducing poaching, it must fulfill the recommendations of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, including applying it to the sector of TCM.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that at least 5 species of pangolin will survive until 2050, according to the Metaculus prediction community.


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