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China Farm Selling Tiger Meat, Confirmed by DNA Test

Posted by Author on June 12, 2007

Press Release, International Tiger Coalition, June 12, 2007, published on earthtimes.org –

tigerTHE HAGUE, Netherlands, June 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — On the eve of a discussion here by world leaders on illegal trade in tiger products, the CITES governing body announced that it has asked the Chinese government to investigate one of its tiger farms implicated for illegally selling tiger meat.

The International Tiger Coalition welcomed the news and also urged China to investigate reports of other illegal trade by commercial tiger farms, which have been pressuring Chinese officials to allow them to trade tiger parts legally. The issue will be discussed tomorrow by the 171 countries attending the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

The coalition was reacting to the formal presentation Tuesday by John Sellar, senior enforcement officer for CITES. Sellar visited the tiger farm in question, Xiongsen Bear and Tiger Mountain Village in Guilin, China, last month. He told the CITES meeting that he was concerned about allegations by NGOs and the media that illegal trade is already taking place in tiger parts from such farms.

The DNA analysis was done by an independent Chinese institution for ITN investigative journalists who visited the Guilin tiger farm undercover and were offered tiger meat at the farm’s restaurant. The farm’s owner called the analysis fraudulent and is suing ITN for its report, but Sellar obtained a copy of the DNA analysis and told the CITES body today that the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s world-renowned National Forensics Laboratory had reviewed the test and agrees that the DNA test “appears to be valid.”

“We expect the issue to generate significant debate over whether China should continue allowing unlimited breeding by private owners, who then claim financial pressure and push to reopen trade to pay for their operations,” said Steven Broad, executive director of TRAFFIC International.

Investors in commercial tiger farms in China are pressuring their government to lift its successful 14-year ban on domestic tiger trade. International Tiger Coalition

CONTACT: Jan Vertefeuille, WWF, +31-6-26529338 or
Judy Mills, STF, +31-6-55933423

report from earthtimes.org

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