China is still allowing the use of pangolin scales in traditional medicine despite pledging to crack down on wildlife trade given concerns that close contact between humans and animals could lead to another devastating pandemic.
A new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency has found that 221 companies in China remain licensed to sell products using pangolin scales, including leading traditional medicine company Beijing Tong Ren Tang.
Such goods are also being actively advertised and are available to domestic and international consumers via online shopping sites, according to the report.
The watchdog group is urging the Chinese government to close the loopholes that have allowed the pangolin trade to continue. One step the EIA is calling on Beijing to implement is to change the country’s wildlife protection law to fully prohibit the sale or possession of pangolin parts.
“Amid mounting concerns about the role of wildlife trade in causing the coronavirus pandemic, it is critical that the Chinese government ends all legal use of pangolin scales, instead of allowing the multi-billion dollar TCM industry to carry on as usual,” said Chris Hamley, senior pangolin campaigner with EIA.