Wildlife On Menu Spurs Smuggling
The consumption of “exotic” meats and the use of animals in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is causing an increase in the illegal imports of endangered animals.
Wild animals are smuggled into China primarily at the southwestern border and coastal regions. In 2008, 87 criminal cases of the smuggling of endangered species were prosecuted, up from 77 cases in 2005. The number of such cases spiked in 2007, at 175 cases.
Trade in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) products has been growing at 10% per year. More than half of the plants and animals used in TCM are from artificial propagation or captive breeding. The consumption of wild animals is standard practice; however, profit from illegal trade in exotic meat is sometimes up to ten times the cost.
The use and trade of wild animal products is banned, but artificial breeding is allowed in certain cases.