MP joins calls to end tiger trade
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has called for urgent action to end the killing of tigers and other big cats by halting the trade in their products.
Mr Herbert joined MPs at an event co-hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary China Group and the Indo-British All Party-Parliamentary Group, together with wildlife campaigners from the Environmental Investigation Agency, in Westminster last week (Thursday 17 July).
MPs have expressed serious concern over the crisis facing the world’s big cats which are being killed for their body parts used in medicines, home decor and jewellery. Fewer than 4,000 wild tigers have survived the hunting trade and now face extinction in their natural habitats, particularly in South-East Asia and China.
Seizures of illegal trade items show that at least 5,203 Asian leopards have been killed since 2000. The true total will be far higher because of the products that have their made their way into buyers’ hands.
In a letter to the Chinese Ambssador, Liu Xiaoming, Mr Herbert and other MPs call for a ban on all sales of big cat parts and products, including from captive sources, an end to the breeding of big cats for trade in their body parts, and the destruction of stockpiles of big cat parts and products.
The MPs also call for investment in demand reduction programmes, and they support the Government of India’s recommendations to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora for urgent, time-bound actions to tackle the killing and trade of big cats.
They say: “We are very concerned that illegal killing, driven by demand for their parts and products, is threatening the survival of wild tigers, leopards and other big cats.
“Losing these species would be an incalculable loss to communities and cultures worldwide, as well as the ecosystems upon which all life depends.
“We call upon all governments worldwide to help end the demand for big cat products which is driving this killing”.
There are known to be more than 6,000 captive-bred tigers held in inhumane conditions in China, where the demand for products using tiger skin and bone is spiralling. China’s policies allow the sale of these products, and commercial breeding fuels the demand.
India, which is home to 60 per cent of the world’s tigers, implemented strong laws in 1972 to ban the big cat trade and invest in conservation.
China banned the trade in tiger bone for medicinal purposes in 1993, but repealed the ban last year, although the repeal has been put on hold following international pressure.
The UK Government is committed to tackling the illegal wildlife trade, funding projects through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund to strengthen law enforcement, reduce demand, and help develop sustainable livelihoods that do not rely on animal trade.
In 2009, as Shadow Environment Secretary, Mr Herbert visited the Kaziranga National Park in northern India to see tigers, and in a speech to conservation organisations in Delhi called for called for new measures to protect endangered species and habitats around the world.
Mr Herbert said: “I strongly support the call to end the illegal killing and captive-breeding of big cats, and to ban the products which they are killed for. We need strong international laws and determined action to save these animals”.
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Notes for Editors
1. Photo - Nick Herbert at the All-Party Parliamentary Group event in Westminster.
2. To read more about the Tiger Campaign, see the Environmental Investigation Agency https://eia-international.org/wildlife/saving-tigers/.
3. To read Nick’s news release in 2009 “MP calls for action to protect international wildlife” see https://www.nickherbert.com/news-releases-archive/2018/8/17/mp-calls-for-action-to-protect-international-wildlife.
4. To read about the Government’s support to the Illegal Wildife Trade Challenge Fund see https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/illegal-wildlife-trade-iwt-challenge-fund.