Target: The National People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China
Goal: Criminalize and shut down captive tiger farming.
If someone says the word tiger to you, what’s the first thing you think of? Maybe a cute stuffed animal who loves bouncing in a hundred acre wood, or an Italian-American cartoon who sells breakfast cereal, or the imaginary best friend of a very creative little boy named Calvin. If you thought of an actual, live tiger, roaming its ancestral home of all of Asia, consider that this image might soon be just as fictional as the first three example listed.
One hundred years ago, one hundred thousand tigers lived across Asia, from the southernmost parts of Indonesia to the easternmost parts of Siberian Russia. Today fewer than 4,000 tigers exist in the wild, and their numbers shrink every day. The reasons for their endangered status include substantial habitat loss, from widespread forest clearing by industrial and agricultural trade, and human-tiger conflicts, as tigers are forced to live closer to humans where both sides clash over livestock as their food and humans retaliate attacks by killing tigers. But the biggest force in tiger extinction is the black market demand for tiger parts, which fuels poaching and captive tiger farms, the majority of which are in China.
Conditions in such tiger farms are deplorable. These places are publicized as an important part of conservation efforts but they’re nothing more than for-profit-factories where tigers are “bred for their bones.” One journalist compared a farm to a medieval circus, where the animals are routinely abused, chained and leashed, malnourished, and drugged while being made to perform in crowded, dirty cages for a small number of visitors. No effort is made to keep the tigers healthy because it would cost more money than what a dead tiger brings in, and since it’s illegal to kill them, the animals suffer from open wounds and starvation before finally dying. You can usually buy a bottle of tiger bone wine right in the nearby gift shop. Most significant is that the tigers have been crossbred and inbred to the point where their genes would be damaging to the greater tiger population, with no skills to survive in their natural habitat, and no way to legitimately help increase the tiger population.
The World Bank and the International Tiger Coalition, along with other organizations, have proved that tiger farms do nothing to truly help save tigers from extinction, and only help fuel the demand for tiger parts. Tell the Chinese government to shut down these farms, to stop tiger abuse and prevent their extinction.
To The National People’s Congress,
I am writing to implore you to create and enforce legislation that will permanently ban tiger farms across China.
Tiger farms do not contribute to the preservation of the greater tiger population – none of the tigers are ever released into the wild, and if they were they would have no skills to survive in their natural habitat. The crossbreeding and inbreeding of the captive tigers also means that any introduction to the wild tiger gene pool would be devastating. In addition, the conditions on these farms are dreadful, ensuring that the tigers live a lifetime of suffering before their deaths provide a profit for the owners, which is the true goal of such places. Tiger farms only contribute to the growing demand for illegal tiger parts.
The tiger is one of the most culturally significant icons in China, but it will be extinct well before the end of the century if strong action is not taken. Please consider this one way of saving them, the total prohibition of tiger farms.
[Your Name Here]