Over the years, TCM practitioners worldwide have decried the use of animal body parts in the industry’s medications, but they have done little to drive change. They are worried about the TCM industry’s reputation and so they should be. But what action are practitioners willing to take to clean up their industry’s declining brand when it comes to the use of animal body parts? If they continue to do nothing, is a campaign needed to encourage consumers to boycott the industry? Just what with be enough to drive change?
While news agencies have provided echo chamber headlines incorrectly stating that China is closing down the domestic wildlife trade, the reality is very different. China’s new laws regarding the trade and consumption of wildlife contain numerous exemptions, including for leather, fur and TCM. Loopholes have also been added allowing traders to stay in business if their products are used for science or medicine. To protect the industry’s future reputation, TCM practitioners could have recommended that no exemptions be given to the industry, they didn’t. They could contribute 1% of the $420 billion profits to monitor and regulate the industry, they don’t.
In not doing so they join all the other industries who use endangered species in their supply chains, to provide nothing to cover the cost of monitoring and regulation. All these industries and brands are tarnished by profiting from and driving the extinction crisis.
So the message to the 900 million TCM practitioners in the 183 countries is be proactive in cleaning up your industry, you are not a passive observer to this exploitation. And neither are consumers, ask questions the next time you visit your TCM practitioner, write to the TCM Association in your country to voice your concern and that you may walk away from TCM if the industry doesn’t invest more in keeping wildlife products out of its supply chain.