In Demand – Traditional Asian Medicine Products Fuel Growing Big Cat Trade


The organization’s research shows how big cat farms are harvesting lions in South Africa and tigers in Asia to fuel demand, as well as to investigate the attitudes towards these products of those who consume them.

Poignant evidence documents the suffering to which these incredible animals are subjected, locked in tiny enclosures resembling factory farms. In Asia, rows of barren, bare battery-style cells house hundreds of tigers as well as lions. In South Africa, we see lion cubs pacing up and down crying, and in another image, a motionless lion cub so deformed that it has limbs missing due to inbreeding, can be seen.

At one end of the supply chain, research shows disturbing attitudes towards these products:

  • In Vietnam, an impressive four in five consumers of traditional Asian medicine (89%) believe in1 medical products made from tigers and lions, and a quarter of its population uses wildlife products such as’ bandages for big cats2“and” tiger bone wine ”
  • Among those who consume these products in Vietnam, nearly nine in 10 people (84%) prefer big cat products from wild-caught animals over farmed
  • In China, more than two in five respondents (40%) had consumed medicines or health products containing products for big cats
  • More than half (55%) of Chinese consumers preferred their big cat products to come from the wild, with 72% saying it’s because wild products are more potent than farmed ones.

This highlights that big cat breeding is fueling demand that is also driving the poaching of protected wild big cats, such as leopards, tigers, jaguars and lions, all in the name of traditional Asian medicine.

In the ranches of South Africa, big cats, mainly lion cubs, are born into a life of exploitation. Some are torn from their mothers in the wild and many are born in breeding facilities. They start their life on children’s farms, then once juvenile they are used for “walk with the lions” experiments. Their life then takes a deadly turn when they are transferred to game farms for canned hunting. The skins and heads are taken as trophies, and the bones are exported legally via the skeleton quota – unique to South Africa. Bones are exported to Asia to supplement the illegal trade in tiger bone products, where they are turned into medicine and wine.

In ChinaHuge, industrial-style big cat farms have rows of tiny cells, each housing a miserable big feline. These facilities provide only the minimum needs for the survival of cats, such as food and water, and many documented were emaciated. In addition, there are many entertainment venues that offer the opportunity to see tigers perform in shows and have their photos taken with them. In some of these places you can also buy tiger products.

Dr. Jan Schmidt-Burbach, Global Wildlife Advisor at World Animal Protection, said:

“Does the life of an animal mean nothing at all? These big cats are exploited for greed and money – and for what? Out of their lives they suffer tremendously – that makes it a scandal. absolute.

“Many of these animals will only see the world through metal bars, they will never feel anything but hard concrete under their paws, and they will never experience their most basic predatory instinct – a hunt. Instead, they are taken away from their mothers like tiny cubs, forced to interact with people or do tricks, only to be slaughtered or slaughtered so that their bodies can be harvested for produce.

“That shouldn’t be the lives of these amazing animals – whether on farms or in places of entertainment. These animals are majestic predators at the top – they are not toys – and neither are they drugs. . Big cats are wild animals and they deserve a life worth living. ”

While research on consumer attitudes shows worrying trends, there are some promising results as well. It shows that 67% of Vietnamese respondents were willing to try herbal or synthetic alternatives to big cat products, with more than half (51%) saying it depended on their reasonable price. Additionally, 68% of fat cat consumers would be willing to try herbal alternatives if they were cheaper. The report describes viable herbal alternatives that traditional Asian medicine recognizes for treating conditions for which consumers would often purchase products for large cats. World Animal Protection urges changing attitudes and demand for big cat products towards humane, sustainable and viable herbal alternatives.

Global animal welfare has driven the world to protect animals for over 50 years. World Animal Protection works to give animals a better life. The organization’s activities include working with companies to ensure high standards of welfare for the animals in their care; work with governments and other stakeholders to prevent wildlife from being cruelly traded, trapped or killed; and save animals’ lives and the livelihoods of those who depend on them in the event of a disaster.

World Animal Protection inspires policy makers to put animals on the global agenda and inspires people to improve the lives of animals. You can find more information on global animal welfare at:

Majestic big cats of all shapes and sizes across the world are both poached in the wild. It is for the parts of the body and the bones that are used in products supposed to treat rheumatism, promote strength and increase sexual vigor. World Animal Protection works tirelessly to prevent cruelty to animals around the world. Last year he also discovered that jaguars were poached in South America to fuel the trade of traditional Asian medicine, and it has cooperated with partner organizations to prevent this.

1 There has been no scientific evidence that big cat products have any medical efficacy.
2 Bandages believed to contain traces of tiger bones, used to give strength and help cure rheumatism.

SOURCE World Animal Protection

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