Monday
Apr232007

Tiger meat on the menu

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An ITN team reported it has proof tiger meat was on sale at a Chinese tiger farm © Save the Tiger Fund Click to enlarge
Cambridge, UK, 23 April 2007—An international coalition of conservation groups is calling on the Chinese government to open an immediate investigation into China’s largest tiger farm after a Beijing-based news team revealed it has proof the farm’s restaurant serves tiger meat.

Laboratory testing in China of the DNA of meat served to Independent Television News (ITN) staff in February at Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village near Guilin, China, proved it came from a tiger. The businessman owner of the farm has denied the claim.

Last week, the farm’s owner was among a group of Chinese delegates attending the International Tiger Symposium in Kathmandu, Nepal, where tiger experts and government delegates discussed ways to protect wild tigers. A China State Forestry Administration official, assured the meeting the burgeoning tiger farms in China were operating within the law.

“China should take action to investigate this report. It’s outrageous and shocking to think that one of the world’s most endangered animals could be served as a trendy dinner right under the noses of Chinese authorities,” said Prasanna S. Yonzon of Wildlife Conservation Nepal.

“It proves what we’ve said all along: tiger farms in China have nothing to do with conservation and everything to do with making money.”

More than 4,000 captive-bred tigers are housed on China’s tiger farms, several of which have breweries attached making what they claim is “lion-bone” wine, although it is sold in tiger-shaped bottles and openly promoted as containing tiger bone. The wealthy farm owners are putting pressure on China to lift its 14-year ban on trade in tiger products.

“Any lifting of China’s ban on tiger parts would lead to an increase in demand for these products, which in turn would result in more poaching of wild tiger populations,” said Steven Broad, Executive Director of TRAFFIC. “The resumption of this trade would be highly damaging to China’s wild tiger conservation efforts and the international reputation of the country.”

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