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ARC Home > Projects > China projects :
China projects | Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & Wildlife

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) & Wildlife

Hundreds of ingredients are for sale in TCM shops like this one in Hong Kong

The protection of wildlife, and especially species seen as endangered, is a core activity affecting ARC and our partners around the world. One of the biggest driving forces behind illegal poaching is the demand for body parts such as rhino horn and tiger penis to supply the black market in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Although such a trade is outlawed, according to TCM practitioners these commodities have powerful medical properties and their rarity means they come at a very high price, making them highly profitable to poachers and traders alike.

But the principles underlying TCM come from the same tradition as Daoism and are rooted in the need to always bring about balance and harmony in the universe. This means that any ingredient obtained by threatening the existence of a species of plant or animal will be ineffective as a curative medicine. This important fact has been endorsed by the leading Daoist scholars in China while at the same time they are identifying alternative (sustainable) herbal remedies that can be used instead.

Even in reservations tigers are always at risk from poachers eager to trade in their body parts
ARC has been working in partnership with the Chinese Daoist Association who are promoting this vitally important message by speaking in public forums, writing articles and teaching. This challenge to the demand for body parts is part of a global strategy, with ARC's partners in countries like Indonesia, Kenya and other sub-Saharan African nations committing themselves to raising awareness in communities where the animals are being poached. With committed faith groups from Christian and Muslim communities joining the Daoists in challenging both supply and demand it is hoped that the needless slaughter of these beautiful and iconic species can be brought to a halt.

The YIn Yang symbol expresses the harmonious balance underpinning the universe
Further links

Wildlife and Forests: China

Prince of Wales praises faiths for speaking out forcefully against the wildlife trade

Article on Daoism and Confucianism protecting China's environment

PRESS RELEASE: First UK visit for top Chinese Daoist environmentalists

African religious leaders join forces to help stop illegal wildlife trade

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Related information

Daoist Faith Statement
Formal statement of Daoist beliefs about ecology: "If all things in the universe grow well, then a society is a community of affluence. If not, this kingdom is on the decline."
Wildlife and Forests
Every faith teaches us about our relationship with the natural, wild world. This is why wildlife programmes are a particularly important area for ARC.
February 14, 2014:
Prince of Wales praises faiths for speaking out forcefully against the wildlife trade
In a speech yesterday at the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference in London, HRH the Prince of Wales named the world's religions for playing a strong role in the fight to protect wildlife