Unfortunately, the Chinese authority has decided to ease the ban on rhino and tiger parts.
As members of UK organisation the Association of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture UK, our clinic is acting on the principle of UK Medicine Act and law. It is illegal to use animal products in UK TCM practice! The ATCM statement are as follow:
The new policy is published on the website of China’s State Council http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2018-10/29/content_5335423.htm in Chinese, and its English version can be obtained on webpage http://english.gov.cn/policies/latest_releases/2018/10/29/content_281476367121088.htm Having read through this official document, we as the UK’s largest professional organisation of traditional Chinese medicine would like to make the following statements:
• The new policy still strictly bans the sale, purchase, utilization, import and export of rhino and tiger parts in China. One of the few exceptions is the ease on medical and research use of rhino horn and tiger bone under a new strict regulation and authorization scheme. Under this new scheme, only those approved hospitals and doctors are allowed to use rhino horn and tiger bone, which are restricted to the sources of farm bred or natural death only. The policy states clearly that Chinese authorities still uphold the prohibition of any parts of wild rhino and tiger.
• Even so, ATCM has written to Chinese government to express our concerns over this new policy, as we believe that the ease of ban on medical use of farmed rhino horn and tiger bone will potentially put wild animals at risk, and the resumption of medical use of these animal parts will inevitably damage the reputation of Chinese medicine internationally. For this reason, we oppose any use of rhino and tiger parts, even if they are from the sources of farm breeding or natural death.
• All of over 700 members in our organisation are Chinese medicine practitioners in the UK, who are all bound by British law as well as our own Code of Practice and Code of Professional Conduct. ATCM members do not use any animals or animal parts in their practice. ATCM has in the past published a list of prohibited substances traditionally used in Chinese medicine, and periodically this list was circulated to our members as a reminder not to use any of them illegally.
• Traditional use of rhino horn and tiger bone in Chinese medicine is due to historical reasons and we should not blame ancient people for using them for medical purpose. Fundamentally they were not commonly used in Chinese medicine and are not magical medicines at all, even much less valuable medically than people would think they are. Since China’s ban on them in 1993, rhino horn and tiger bone have been removed from Chinese medicines (although some very small scale of illegal trade exists underground in China). The vast majority of Chinese medicine doctors have never used these two animal parts in their practice, even prior to the China’s ban in 1993.
• ATCM support animal protection globally. We have in the past worked together with some UK based animal protection organisations such as Asian Animal Foundation campaigning to stop the use of bear bile in Chinese medicine. We will continue supporting animal protection, especially to stop the use of animal parts in Chinese medicine.