You are here

Traditional Chinese Medicine and the importing of TCM animal products should be banned in Australia

Traditional Chinese Medicine should be banned in Australia. It relies on animal cruelty worse than animal experimentation. The importation of TCM animal products should also be banned from Australia since it is illegal trade in wildlife. This would send a clear message that

practices involving animal cruelty and wildlife trade are not tolerated in Australia.

It is anathema to Australian moral values. The morality test is that if it is immoral to do it to humans, then it is equally immoral to do it on all sentient beings ('sentience' is the ability to feel or perceive).

The following incident recently reported from China is a case in point.

Rescuers feel the bile rising as they bandage mutilated bears'

- by John Garnaut, Herald Correspondent, 24-APR-2010. Source

Behind bars... one of the bears found by the Animals Asia Foundation. [Photo: Moon Bear Rescue Animals Asia/ Ali Bullock]

"BEIJING: On Monday Jill Robinson entered the dark and stinking home of Oliver, a brown bear, and his nine brown and Asiatic black bear neighbours. Oliver was a huge specimen with burnt-orange eyes, who was deemed ''unpredictable'' after killing a keeper at a zoo.

The bear turned sideways in his metal cage and showed the perfect indentation of a ''full metal jacket'' around his neck and abdomen, and marks from straps that had held an iron box around his abdomen for 10 years.

The illegal metal jacket had just been taken off by the farmer in Weihai, Shandong province, and flung into a corner. And the iron box contained a dirty, pus-infused latex catheter which had been wrenched out of Oliver's gall bladder, where it had been siphoning bile.

Bile from bears has been used in Chinese medicine for 3000 years and is valued for fighting fevers and other heat-related ailments. There are now as many as 50 natural and synthetic substitutes but farmed bear bile is still valuable.

Animal welfare awareness is rising in China but so are the financial incentives to trade in exotic animal products. In the 1980s the government legalised bear bile farming in an attempt to stop poaching. That has had mixed success - the wild population has shrunk to an estimated 15,000-25,000 Asian black bears - and it has created new animal welfare problems.

The Animals Asia Foundation, which Ms Robinson founded a decade ago, has rescued 276 bile bears and sent them to a refuge in Chengdu, Sichuan. The 10 bears rescued on Monday mean that Shandong is now one of the 19 Chinese provinces that are bear farm-free, with 12 provinces to go.

''Awareness of animal welfare has really improved, especially in the past two, three years,'' said Toby Zhang, who works with the foundation. ''In Chengdu the drug shops have agreed not to sell bear bile. They even allowed us to burn it on the streets - and people all stopped and praised us.''

Chinese environment and animal welfare groups are active throughout the country. There is also a traditional emphasis on ''living in harmony with nature'' that survives among Chinese of Han and other ethnicities.

Oliver and his nine neighbours arrived safely yesterday in Chengdu after a 2400-kilometre trip. But Oliver was clearly suffering after the catheter had been ripped out. Wire was protruding from a stinking abdominal hole and his teeth were infected after being crudely cut back to the gum.

From a traffic jam in Shanxi province they called the local police and hospital - and decided to operate right there.

''The police cars arrived with sirens wailing, helping us out of the traffic jam and into the hospital … ,'' Ms Robinson said. ''The doctors were waiting at the entrance with the oxygen cylinder - along with half of the hospital staff and a growing number of onlookers from the street.''

Members of the travelling team performed the emergency procedure to remove Oliver's gall bladder. Inside the gall bladder they found a metal disc that had been used to keep the catheter inside, which had been causing much of his discomfort.

The rescue and road odyssey was sponsored by a Melbourne philanthropist, Sharon Pearson.

''I've just spent the week crying,'' she said. ''I could cry right now. It's barely a drop in the bucket when you think there are still 10,000 bears in those cages while I'm sleeping comfortably in my bed.''

These backward Chinese also kill endangered tigers to use their penis to address impotence.

Traditional Chinese Medicine relies on killing endangered seahorses

More than 20 million seahorses are caught from the wild each year to supply the Traditional Chinese Medicine market to supposedly 'tonify the kidneys and fortify the Yang and for impotence, urinary incontinence, wheezing and old age debilitation. It enlivens the blood, aiding circulation: used for bleeding and pain from congealed blood and swelling due to sores and boils.'

What crap!

Traditional Chinese Medicine relies on killing endangered rhinoceros for their horns

All five of the world’s diverse species of rhinoceros have been brought to the edge of extinction because of human appetite for their distinctive horns to supposedly treat fever, rheumatism, gout, and other disorders.

According to the 16th century Chinese pharmacist Li Shi Chen, the horn could also cure snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, headaches, carbuncles, vomiting, food poisoning, and “devil possession.”

What crap!

Traditional Chinese Medicine relies on killing endangered turtles for their plastron (shell)

Sold under the Chinese names 'guiban' and 'biejia', the plastron (shell) of the Reeves' turtle, a terrapin, as well as that of endangered sea turtles freshwater turtles and tortoises perpetuates an illegal trade to supply Traditional Chinese medicine. the plastron is supposedly used to for 'liver and kidney meridians and to nourish yin and subdue yang, and to soften hardness and disperse nodules. Among the conditions turtle shell is used to treat are febrile diseases, deficient yin with fever, night sweats, and amenorrhea.

What crap!

Traditional Chinese Medicine, It is wicked and backward.

Image icon Moon Bear behind bars.jpg19.87 KB


I have no argument against banning Chinese medicine which causes cruelty to animals, but does TigerQuoll really mean to claim that 'all' Chinese medicine (a) causes cruelty to animals and (b) doesn't work?

My question is based on my understanding that some branches of Chinese medicine do work well; I just don't know much about what does and doesn't work, notably in the areas of drugs/medicines. (I do know that the Chinese have one medicine that a tropical disease epidemiologist has claimed cures drug resistant malarias. I will look that up and put the details up later.)

I also have a problem with the whole notion of 'progressive' and progress and the idea that all European medicine is 'better'. I do concede that most European medicine is stronger, more accurately dosed, targeted, truly effective and better tested than other kinds. Nonetheless European - by which I mean 'Western' medicine - has the same problems as everything else in our society; vested interest, i.e. money invested in various medicines, products and ideas, or money made out of their impacts or perceived impacts, keeps bad or inneffective medicine and concepts alive and blocks the arrival of new medicine and ideas.

Furthermore, Western medicine is focused on 'cures' and treatments rather than on causes and avoidance of diseases. For instance, Western society allows mass production and mass consumption of products which are enormously linked to rise in diabetes and obesity. I could write a lot more, but should be doing something else and I don't want to take away from Tigerquoll's rightful rage against cruelty to animals and profiteering from endangered species and peoples' ignorance.

When is animal cruelty acceptable? Answer: morally never

How does Traditional Chinese Medicine distinguish between practices that involve animal cruelty and create demand for trade in endangered wildlife and those that don't? Answer: it doesn't.

The issue of the virtues of medicine alternative from 'western medicine' is irrelevant.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a "holistic approach to healthcare where patients are treated using natural plant, mineral and animal-based ingredients".

TCM utilises the body's own healing abilities. It holds the human body in great reverence , respecting & promoting its endless capacity for rejuvenation & recovery. This "reverence" doesn't however include reverence for animal species it exploits, and not limited to the human body's "own" healing abilities.

TCM is based on a belief in yin and yang - defined as opposing energies, such as earth and heaven, winter and summer, happiness and sadness.

The typical TCM therapies include acupuncture, herbal medicine, and qigong exercises.

According to the World Health Organization, nearly 80 percent of the world’s population depends for its primary health care needs on medicines derived from plants and animals. The rising demand, combined with reduced habitat, has caused an alarming increase in the number of plant and animal species (used for medicinal purposes) at risk.

TCM uses approximately 1,000 plant and 36 animal species, including the tiger, rhinoceros, black bear, musk deer, and sea horse; the tiger, rhinoceros, and sea horse are endangered. Although substitutes for bear bile exist, there is still a huge demand for the real thing. Because of the significant reduction in the population of wild Asiatic black bears that has resulted, bear farming was introduced in China in 1984.

It is hardly "holistic" if it depends on the "use" of animals, cruelty, confinement, poaching and the endangerment of species.
However, Western medicine is not free from guilt. Vivisection is in fact a multi-billion dollar global industry and is deliberately hidden away from the public eye to avoid unwanted scrutiny. The numbers of animals used are enormous, for example, a small country like Australia uses approximately 7 million animals each year.

There are alternative to vivisection including:

  • Epidemiological Studies
  • Clinical studies and trials
  • Autopsies and Post-Mortem Studies
  • Post-Marketing Surveillance using computer technology
  • Non-Invasive Imaging Techniques
  • Tissue and Cell Culture
  • Mathematical and Computer Models
  • Chromatography and Spectroscopy

What sort of parasitic species are we to justify our "health", happiness, advancement and well-being on the pain, suffering, slaughter, illegal trade and extinction the other non-human species?

If we avoided the amount of "junk" food and livestock products consumed, we could then avoid the demand for all these health services.

See the China Study.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) may well offer benefits, but given it relies on immoral treatment of wildlife and illegal trade in wildlife some of which are threatened with extinction, how can it be morally justified?

If Chinese medicine adopted a completely animal free product policy that was able to be certified independently as 'animal free' in the same way Body Shop is, then it may well start claiming legitimacy.

Until such time, it is backward and should be condemned and outlawed, just like illicit drugs and slavery.
Users of TCM drive the sort of cruelty evidenced on Moon Bears. They are complicit in animal cruelty.

Modern medicines and products that rely upon animal testing, and the users of those are no different.
Problem is that our governments lack the moral courage to mandate compulsory disclosure labelling on any product that has relied upon animal testing.

Tiger Quoll
Snowy River 3885