ENV speaks out against TCM Hospital request to use wildlife as medicine
21st March 2013
The Central Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital (Central TCM Hospital) in Hanoi has suggested receiving confiscated wildlife products in order to produce medicine, in particular: 119kg of deer horn, 11kg of tiger bone, 4kg of primate bone, and 263kg of pangolin scales.
According to the hospital, these wildlife products have medicinal value to cure diseases, and they requested that the Hanoi People’s Committee (PC) transfer these specimens. The Hanoi PC had assigned the Hanoi Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (DARD) in partnership with other related authorities to order Hanoi Forest Protection Department to consider this transfer according to recent regulation and practical situation.
On Friday (March 15, 2013), in response to this suggestion, ENV issued a message to the media calling for Hanoi PC’s deeper consideration of the issue and to not transfer the wildlife specimens to the Central TCM Hospital.
Mr Tran Viet Hung, Vice Director of ENV, said that according to the law, confiscated wildlife listed in the 1B Group of Decree 32/2006/ND-CP (including tigers) is forbidden to be used for commercial purposes, and as medicine is still a commercial product regardless of its purpose, it is therefore illegal to use these specimens to make medicine. The specimens can only be handled in two ways: to transfer them to a Government scientific research or education facility (for example a science institute or museum) which is not related to any commercial activity; or destroy them completely.
“We have not seen any modern scientific research proving that wildlife products can be used to produce effective medicine. This is mostly spread through rumors. Moreover, we also have not seen any scientific basis for the production process to create these medicines or for the treatment process,” said Mr. Hung.
On Monday 18, the TCM Hospital responded saying that “it is a waste if we just destroy the confiscated wildlife products.” They recommended that these products be used for teaching students and for researching new cures.
However, ENV believes that if the wildlife products are transferred to the TCM Hospital to produce medicine, it will further encourage demand for wildlife consumption, going against all efforts of the authorities to raise public awareness that “wildlife is not a magical medicine” and to “say no to wildlife consumption”.
ENV will continue to monitor the issue and speak out to prevent any further action on it.