Chinese prefer tigers in the wild over tigers on their plates
July 2, 2008
A new survey shows that most Chinese would rather have tigers living in the wild than tiger products on their dinner plates. However the poll also revealed some notable contradictions in attitudes toward the trade in tiger parts.
Analyzing data collected from a representative sample of Chinese living in seven major cities in China, researchers found that while most Chinese support the country’s ban on selling tiger products, 43 percent of respondents admit consuming products they believed to contain tiger parts. Within this user group, 71 percent said they preferred products made from wild tigers to those from farmed tigers.
Siberian tiger. Photo by Rhett A. Butler
“We finally have data that show if China reopens tiger trade, all bets are off for the survival of wild tigers,” said Judy Mills, Director of the Campaign Against Tiger Trafficking. “The remaining 4,000 tigers left in the wild would not stand a chance if demand were re ignited among China’s 1.3 billion consumers.”
China banned domestic trade in medicines from tiger bones in 1993 but is considering opening up a market in tiger parts from farmed animals. Conservationists say the move would decimate wild tiger populations.
The new poll found that 93 percent of Chinese believe the ban was necessary to ensure a future for wild tigers. 88 percent of respondents are aware that buying tiger products is illegal.
The study is published in the open-access journal PLoS ONE.