Thousands of Tigers Continue To Be Harvested For Their Bones To Make Tiger Wine For Chinese Customers

tn_th_tiger31The appetite of Chinese consumers for endangered and threatened species is considered one of the greatest threats facing environmentalists and animal activists. Even Chinese diplomats have been accused of massive violations of laws protecting these species. As Chinese consumers acquire more disposable income, the demand for such products is increasing. The results are disgusting and no better example is the illegal production of Tiger wine, an aphrodisiac which sells for more than $500 a bottle. The wine is made from the bone of tigers who are raised in shocking conditions, including near starvation.


Across China, tigers are kept on “tiger farms” to supply Chinese men with the wine which they believe enhances their sexual prowess. There are an estimated 6000 tigers languishing in these farms. The bones are left soaking for eight years and then mixed with snake extract.

Bears are facing the same horrific conditions in Chinese farming operations.

The continued popularity of these products shows how the market rather than government regulations are controlling events. As I have previously discussed, I have personally seen the insatiable desire for these products. About 20 years ago, I was on a delegation to Taiwan and one of my areas of discussion was environmental protection. On the flight over to Taipei, our government sanctioned the Taiwan government for the sale of endangered species body parts in medicines and products. When I arrived, that is all the President and ministers wanted to discuss. They were quite angry and insisted that you could not buy such things as tiger bone on the island.

After days of denials, I decided to investigate the matter myself. I left the meeting early and got into a cab. The Justice minister had just denied that such products were openly sold in Taiwan so I asked the cab driver where I could buy tiger bone. He immediately said “Snake alley.” He offered to drive me that night and I accepted. After driving through the city that night, he walked me down a narrow alley with underaged girl prostitutes on either side behind thin curtains. It was horrible with some girls who looked as young as ten. We then emerged in Snake alley — so named because people often came to drink snake blood as an aphrodisiac. I watched as one large snake was killed and drained into a pint cup and given to a young man. The snake’s beating heart was placed on the table in front of him. He paid a wad of money and drank the blood and was served a snake soup. In addition to open sex acts on display, there was a wide array of endangered species body parts for sale from dozens of open tables. I bought a few and took them to the meeting the next day. I explained that it took me literally minutes to find a place to buy these. The minister looked shocked and then had an interesting response. Instead of again denying the availability of such products, he said that the Chinese culture is ancient and that he can personally attest that these ancient remedies work.

The preference for exotic animals in the Chinese market has deep cultural roots. I have been to China and spoken with environmentalists who have bravely fought not just the government but this cultural insensitivity of such issues. They are incredible heroes in the environmental movement in facing not only government abuse but citizen abuse for resisting these cultural traditions.

14 thoughts on “Thousands of Tigers Continue To Be Harvested For Their Bones To Make Tiger Wine For Chinese Customers

  1. So too with rhino horn, a material equivalent to fingernails.

    This sort of ignorance and disregard is maddening.

    Wonder how’d they feel if Chinese people became an ingredient in Chinese food. You know, for added culinary culture.

  2. Yes, but USAmericans support a racist misogynist egotistic demagogue for President. Chinese have no monopoly on destructive ignorance.

  3. Tigers are not “harvested” any more than deer are harvested here in the US every fall during deer hunting season. They are not grain or corn (maize) being harvested using combines.

    Tigers and deer and other animals that are hunted for whatever reason, legally or illegally, are “killed,” and killed is the term that needs to be used.

    Why be squeamish about language when the truth is involved?

    This faux delicacy of language surrounding the killing of animals just grates on my last shredded nerve every year when TV and print “news” says the animals killed during the various hunting seasons are “harvested.”

    No. They are killed.

    The custom you’re describing is bad enough; don’t try to gently ease into the subject by saying tigers kept in deplorable conditions and then killed to ferment a beverage from their bones are “harvested.”

  4. “Yes, but USAmericans support a racist misogynist egotistic demagogue for President. Chinese have no monopoly on destructive ignorance.”

    Doglover,
    Fortunately he is being term-limited and we can get on with healing our country once this national nightmare is over.

  5. (music– to The Jets!)

    If you’re a chink you’re a tink.
    You’re a tink all the way.
    From your first Tiger tea…
    To you’re last dying day!

    Keep smoking all day.
    And smoking all night.
    You’re lungs will give out.
    And Mao will be right!

  6. As a father, you must have been heartbroken walking down that alley, unable to help or save those little girls.

    How do you change a culture? We face similar problems when we ally or nation build in non-Western countries that do not share our values. There is, for example, the “boy play” in Afghanistan that got a marine a dishonorable discharge when he defended a child rape victim against a pedophile.

    This also reminds me of the people who are now facing criminal charges for negotiating to buy fetal body parts from Planned Parenthood. Their intention was undercover investigative journalism, similar to your own altruistic motives, and yet they are in a lot of trouble, while the people with whom they negotiated, who were not playing, are not.

    This whole aphrodisiac nonsense is one of the many barriers to global conservation efforts. I think they must be compensating for something to be so desperate. They say that if you discover a plant, animal, bird, reptile, snake, or fish previously thought to be extinct, you’d better not tell the Chinese. They will kill the last one because it’s an “aphrodisiac.”

    There are also the Japanese killing coves where they slaughter dolphins, which are not only highly intelligent mammals, but also have a high concentration of mercury in their flesh.

    Perhaps this is the stuff for SciFi movies to explore, but I’ve always personally felt that we shouldn’t kill animals who are highly intelligent, or animals we do not need for food to survive, or endangered species unless they are for some reason a threat.

  7. A doctor who knows something about the rhino horn trade wrote a very interesting article. He proposed that an international agreement be made for the harvesting of rhino horn. According to this doctor a kilo of rhino horn goes for approximately $100,00.00. White Rhinoceros are almost as docile as domestic cattle. A large rhino horn weighs nearly 3 kilos. It could be harvested and sold at auction. As for the rhino, the horn will grow back in three years. There could be ranches raising rhino just for their horns.

  8. I believe you ‘harvest’ organs from an unwitting mark in Mexico city. Would the tigers not first be hunted, killed, and THEN harvested for their bones?

    MAN, all this talk gets me in the mood for some tiger wine, with some shark fin soup, but you know, tiger bone soup sounds pretty good, too. Although I don’t want to be redundant with animals. Maybe RINO whine with my tiger bone soup.

  9. franm2016:

    Don’t be so hard on us. We’re not particularly bad compared to other species. Other species will use up all available resources until they run out of food. (Like overgrazing). Some kill more than they can eat. (Like measles). Some go to war over territory. (Like wolves and chimps and horses). Some kill every single young when it takes over (like lions). We’re not the only one that would cause catastrophe. Algae blooms eventually smother entire lakes, and all the life in it.

    Although some species are part of symbiotic relationships that have evolved over time, we are the other species that I am aware of that actively tries to mitigate or prevent the damage it causes to the environment, and the only one to protect species that it eats if its numbers become threatened, such as fishing bans.

    We just have more scope.

  10. “The appetite of chinese consumers is …….one of the greatest threats facing environmentalists and activists”…..did the author mean to say that? ,if so does it mean the “market” will make the activists irrelavant? Couldn’t resist. Ironically i was in taipei twenty years ago too. Too dumb to get a cab but hiked to the museum instead. And went to the market with booth upon booth that stunk. Like blood and guts. But ppl bought their food there. And who are we to judge. Indeed the article states these tigers are being farmed. Kind of like cat fish or talapia are. They aren’t being poached….or hunted in the wild. They are being raised for a specific purposes….and i bet little of the carcass goes to waste. And how do we know it is snake oil? Did you buy it and try it? Really i am asking by whose rules must we as a globe live? If these animals are farm raised….with no impact on the natural population what is the problem? I am sure you have been to teddy rosevelt park in north dakota….where there are wild horses and real bison bison. Yet in wyoming and other places ppl raise buffallo to gasp….consume. And horses all over for various purposes including dog food meanwhile some cultures eat dogs. My point is who are we to judge…if it gives a guy a boner fine at least its natural. He could pay $500 a bottle for once a day cialas. I understand being appauled by the young girls. Maybe if the acticists focused on them….but the dont even now that synthetic drug of the same outcome is
    around. We can’t change the world. Moreover that would be boring. We may be repulsed by what they eat and drink….but as long as its not humanity itself…we don’t face a “threat”

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