British PM needs to think of the tiger when pushing trade links with China

NEWS AND COMMENT: I know that the majestic tiger is nothing to the British government. The tiger's gradual extinction in the wild is not on Boris Johnson's radar. Never has been. BUT I am sure Carrie Symonds, his fiancĂ©e, has considered the abuse of the tiger by four Asian countries: China, Thailand, Vietnam and Laos and as such here is a real opportunity to add some conditions to the trade links that Britain wants to develop with China and neighbouring countries. 

British PM needs to think of the tiger when pushing trade links with China
 British PM needs to think of the tiger when pushing trade links with China.
This is a tiger farm. Gross animal abuse. Cruel. These tigers will soon be killed
and their body parts harvested. Pic in the public domain.

I recently wrote about the abuses dished out to the tiger by these countries  - click to read it. If anyone cares about animal welfare it is horrendous. For example, deboning living tigers to make pink tiger bone jewellery. Can you believe it? 

It is truly time to tackle tiger abuse and exploitation if we are serious about preventing the extinction of this species in the wild.

The Times today said that the PM wants to strike a balance in its ties with China. But is appears that he wants to brush aside human rights abuses by China (reference the abuse of the Chinese Muslims, the Uyghurs) and press on with trade deals.

If the British government can conveniently forget about huge human rights abuses when negotiating trade deals with China what chance animal rights and specifically the tiger? 

I am all for international trade deals to boost the British economy but we must use these moments to at least chip away at animal abuse in Asia. I'd hope that Carrie can put a bit of gentle pressure on him in this regard.

I know it means delving into the culture of another country which is virtually taboo. China's leader supports Chinese medicine despite it being based on superstition and not science which is deeply troubling because it is a major contributor to tiger abuse and the abuse of many species of wild and domestic animal (e.g. cat meat). 

But there must come a time when there's a need to address cultural attitudes which are out of date and rooted in the past which, as a consequence, are out of tune with the modern world. The modern world is destroying wildlife. Human culture must change to be more sensitive to nature and wildlife. China must change if it is to join in meaningful trade deals today and going forwards.

It is said that Xi wants to prioritise ecology in China according to a Chinese website. I can't believe it. Nothing points to that conclusion. The administrators of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau may want to protect wildlife but I don't see the same attitude from Chairman Xi Jinping. China wants to dominate world trade. Fine. But it can't do it while ignoring the finer points such as pollution and human and animal rights.

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