Eating Endangered Species Is Now Illegal In China

But you can use them in “traditional medicines.”

via Flickr user (cc) George Lu

Many in the West are horrified by China’s Yulin Dog-Meat Eating Festival, an annual 10-day-long event where over 10,000 dogs are consumed. But China has recently taken steps toward improving its shaky animals rights record by passing a new law that bans the sale of food products made from endangered species.

Animal rights activists have reason to be skeptical of the new law because while it makes eating endangered species illegal, it still allows for them to be used for captive breeding, public performances, and consumption in non-food products. Rare animals are often used in Chinese traditional medicines that have little basis in science. For example, bears are often bred so their stomach bile can be used for elixirs and rhino horn has been used as a treatment for fevers, typhoid, and headaches.

“In the past, China’s wildlife policies have frequently come under scrutiny for failing to effectively regulate the exploitation and sale of endangered animals,” The Shanghaiist writes. “While state media has touted this long-awaited provision, environmental activists have voiced their concerns that simply restricting the sale of endangered animals as food, while nice and all, does not nearly suffice.”