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Washington, D.C. – Congressmen Michael McCaul (R-TX), Ed Royce (R-CA), Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) introduced a bipartisan resolution urging China to maintain its ban on rhinoceros and tiger parts. This resolution also highlights the need to reduce demand in Asian markets, work with our global partners to combat transnational criminal organizations, condemn the farming of rhinoceros and tigers, and support ongoing engagement by U.S. government agencies to prevent poaching and wildlife trafficking.
Congressman McCaul: “China’s consideration of allowing the sale of rhino horns and tiger bones would undeniably increase the $20 billion in annual illegal profits already made by wildlife trafficking. Worst of all, these profits are often reaped by transnational criminal organizations and foreign terrorist groups to fund their own malevolent ambitions. This resolution strongly encourages China to maintain a permanent prohibition on the sale of rhino and tiger parts, while continuing to support ongoing efforts at the Department of State and other agencies to combat poaching and international trafficking.”
Congressman Royce: “Wildlife trafficking isn’t just a threat to rhinos, cheetahs and more, it’s a threat to U.S. national security. As one of the most lucrative criminal activities worldwide, wildlife trafficking generates revenues in the billions each year – funding terrorists and rebel groups. And China, home to the largest market in illegal wildlife products, has long been the biggest source of the problem. Now is not the time to allow loopholes that only serve traffickers; now is the time to demand China makes good on promises to help stop poaching. I applaud Rep. McCaul for his work on this legislation as we keep conservation and anti-poaching initiatives a priority in Congress.”
Congressman Cuellar: “It is crucial that China maintain a permanent ban on the sale of rhinoceros and tiger parts. It is unacceptable that each year, these sales generate billions of dollars in illegal profits at the expense of these endangered species. This resolution sends a strong message that the preservation of wildlife populations trumps the worth of their individual parts. I will continue to offer my support on this issue, so that we are able to effectively combat wildlife trafficking, reduce demand in Asian markets, and encourage ongoing cooperation with the Department of State. I thank Congressman Michael McCaul and for his continued bipartisan effort on this matter.”
Congressman Fortenberry, Co-Chair of the International Conservation Caucus: “Good stewardship can help people and threatened species thrive. China made an important first step to halt the exploitation of rhinos and tigers. This resolution reminds them of their promise.”
Today, wildlife trafficking is one of the world’s largest transnational crimes with an estimated $20 billion in illegal profits reaped a year. According to traditional Chinese beliefs, rhinoceros and tiger byproducts are thought to have medicinal and healing properties. These beliefs have created a high demand in Chinese markets, which has only encouraged poaching the animals in both Africa and Asia where illicit trade runs rampant. Transnational criminal organizations and terrorist groups often profit from this poaching and also engage in the trafficking of arms, drugs, and people. Rhinoceros and tigers face extinction and the high demand for their body parts further risks their presence on earth.
In 1993, China’s State Council recognized the endangered status of both rhinoceros and tigers due to poaching, and issued a ban involving the sale, purchase, use, and import of rhinoceros horn, tiger bones, and other body parts. In October 2018, China signaled it would allow exceptions to this ban for medical and scientific research. On November 2018, China postponed lifting the ban on rhinoceros horn and tiger bone for medical and scientific research due to international pressure, particularly by conservation groups.
The resolution is endorsed by:
The World Wildlife Fund: “World Wildlife Fund (WWF) commends Rep. McCaul (R-Tex.) and his bipartisan cosponsors for introducing this resolution, which calls on China to maintain its ban on trade in rhino and tiger parts and supports ongoing efforts to save these species in the wild. Wildlife trafficking is now a multibillion-dollar crime that is devastating populations of these and other species around the globe. Countries need to be doing all they can to shut down this illicit trade, not rolling back existing protections. By passing this resolution, Congress can send a strong signal and reaffirm U.S. leadership on this issue.”
Animal Welfare Institute: “We are grateful to Rep. McCaul for seeking to put the House on record calling upon China to retain its ban on the trade in rhino and tiger parts. There has been a great outpouring of public opposition to loosening this ban and it is vital that the US government recognize its importance and encourage China to maintain it.”