Chinese Pharmaceutical Companies Using Endangered Animals As Ingredients

A disturbing report revealed three Chinese pharmaceutical companies are using endangered animals as ingredients in their traditional medicines. Reuters identified the companies targeted by the report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) U.K. on Sunday.

Beijing Tong Ren Tang, Tianjin Pharmaceutical Group, and Jilin Aodong Pharmaceutical Group are accused of including these animals in 88 traditional medicines.

The report showed that ingredients made from endangered leopards and pangolins are being used. Equally disturbing is that investors in these three firms include some of the world’s largest banks — many of whom promote themselves as defenders of various leftist causes.

These specific companies were reviewed because of being publicly listed and having the support of international investors. EIA urged major financial institutions such as UBS and HSBC to divest from the Chinese firms over using endangered animals in their products.

EIA legal and policy specialist Avinash Basker called it “particularly disappointing” to discover multinational financial institutions “effectively endorsing this damaging exploitation.”

BlackRock and Citigroup are another two of the reported 62 companies investing in the three controversial Chinese entities.

Basker added, “They need to divest from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) manufacturers using threatened species at the soonest opportunity.” These companies promote various animal parts as effective ingredients for a wide variety of purposes.

EIA reported that some investors, including Wells Fargo, said they either sold funds invested in the TCM companies or sold their shares.

The group encouraged Beijing to follow 52 recommendations made by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

This prohibits the use of “body parts of leopards, pangolins, tigers and rhinos.

The activist NGO further urged the Chinese government to ban the use of ingredients taken from threatened species for all domestic commercial ventures.

The country’s newly amended Wildlife Protection Law took effect in May. It prohibited trade in most wild animals intended to be consumed for food. However, it permits breeding and use in certain circumstances.

Whether it’s environmentally or for human rights, China has far to go to catch up to the developed world. Beijing’s economic muscle and growing military power do not hide the backwardness of much of the communist country’s policies and practices.