Wild animal exploitation could increase under China's new law

caged animal
CC BY 2.0 Guyon Moree

Rules proposed by China's State Forestry Administration could lead to increased exploitation of wild animals, according to veterinarians and animal advocates. The proposal creates new licensing opportunities for circuses and "production and business."

Animal rights supporters tell the New York Times that the new licenses could lead to greater exploitation for commercial gain:

“These things — animal circuses and the trade in wild animals — have long existed and now they’re saying, let’s manage them better. So the government may mean to regulate and control it, but in the process it is legalizing it,” said Jin Yipeng, a professor at China Agricultural University in Beijing and a trained veterinarian, said after the event. “It’s a step backwards.”

Firms producing traditional Chinese medicines are pressuring the government to permit the expansion of bear bile farming, a practice which has come under increasing scrutiny as inhumane and cruel.

The proposed laws could also be harmful to natural populations. A survey conducted by the Wildlife Conservation Society found that commercial wildlife farms negatively impact wild populations, because farms often acquire stock from the wild.