The farming of tigers is a practice that is perhaps more cruel than
anything else that involves big cats. And the overall business involves
not just tigers. Lions, crocodiles, bears and other carnivores are also
bred in captivity – in other words ‘farmed’ for use of their body parts
for a variety of purposes. Tiger skins serve as rugs, parts of clothes;
their bones and teeth are powdered and used in traditional oriental
medicines; their brain, heart, meat, claws, whiskers – in short every
part of their body is used to serve an array of ridiculous purposes.
And it’s one of the biggest threats to tigers worldwide.
and lucrative business, tiger farming enjoys the support of corrupt
officials and poaching enterprises in China and parts of Southeast
Asia. In places like Burma and Thailand tiger parts are openly
available for sale in cities. In zoos and captive centers across China
thousands of tigers are kept in miserable conditions in small cages and
slaughtered daily to feed the huge market that revolves around exotic
Supporters of this trade claim that since captive
tigers serve the purpose, tiger farming actually ‘protects’ wild tigers
by sparing them from poachers. This, however, is not true. Tiger
farming continues to fuel the market for the oriental medicines that
make use of tiger parts, thus hurting the cause of tigers. Plus,
poachers still go after wild tigers since they are cheaper to obtain.
in a significant move towards conservation of tigers, CITES, Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species, has issued a notification
to stop tiger farming in member countries. A decision welcomed by
conservationists around the world, this will serve to curb the cruel
practice. However, it remains to be seen as to how effectively it will
be implemented by the Chinese government which has so far been
reluctant to act against openly operating tiger farms. At the same time
it will also temporarily increase the demand for wild tigers greatly
and necessitate greater vigil in reserves and forests against poachers.
Still, one thing is for sure. If the tiger is to survive anywhere in
the wild, the use of its parts in any form or place has to be abolished