Hong Kong Chinese Attitudes Towards Wildlife As Medicine
Conducted in 1996, this telephone survey of the Hong Kong Chinese population explored the attitudes and behaviors of respondents toward the use of wild animals in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), finding that about 6.8% of Hong Kong’s adult population uses TCM regularly.
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) includes the use of exotic animals and their body parts and often involves the illegal trade of items such as rhino horns and tiger bones for their perceived medicinal properties.
According to this survey:
- 6.8% of the Hong Kong population uses TCM regularly.
- Users are more likely to be women than men.
- 35% of TCM users seek advice from TCM practitioners and shop assistants.
- 59% of TCM users reported they would not use TCM claiming to contain parts of wild animals.
- Perceived need and efficacy together were the major reasons for use of TCM products with wild animal components.
- Lesser educated people were more willing to pay higher prices for TCM with wild animal parts as opposed to the parts of animals bred in captivity.
- 14% of TCM users would continue to use medicine containing endangered animals protected by law, while 37% might do so “depending upon the situation.”
- 7% of TCM users have used rhino horn while 4% used TCM with tiger bone.
- 59% of adults were concerned about endangered species; 77% of these would give up certain TCM if it would save wildlife from extinction.
- 70% believed that humans would be adversely affected if wild animals were to become extinct.
- 74% of TCM users supported the use of laws to prohibit the use of endangered animals as TCM ingredients.
- 33% of the adult population had consumed exotic animals, with the most popular being snake.