36 NPC Deputies Urge to Speed up the Wildlife Protection Law Change
TigerTime is delighted to report on the positive steps being taken by the National People’s Congress in China as they work toward the revision of the Wildlife Protection Law and suggest that the Animal Protection Law should also be looked at:
The National People’s Congress deputy, Vice President of Nanchang Aviation University, Dr Luo Liansheng along with 35 NPC deputies have called to speed up the revision process of the Wildlife Protection Law this year.
During the workshop “Animals and Legislation: Aita Foundation Press Club” on 11th March 2015 , Dr Luo Liansheng claimed: “NPC Standing Committee has given greater attention to the revision of The Wildlife Protection Law. It is planned to be completed by the end of this year.”
The current Wildlife Protection Law was enacted in 1989. Dr Luo has called for revision of the law for the last three years. Meanwhile, the desire to speed up the law revision process has grown in society as a whole.
The importance of the resources and services provided by the natural world, and the animals and plants within it, cannot be overstated as they provide the foundations for development for human society. China has more than 4440 species of vertebrates, around 10% of world’s known vertebrate species. 476 out of the 4440 vertebrate species and roughly 2/3 of the amphibians found within China are endemic to China. Species such as pandas, golden snub-nosed monkeys, crested Ibis, South China Tigers, Tibetan antelopes, Chinese White dolphins and Chinese Alligators.
Luo stated that, besides the revision in 2004 on individual articles, the Wildlife Protection Law has not been amended as a whole. The legislation does not reflect the current economic and cultural development of China.
Currently, the State Forestry Administration, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Ministry of Agriculture among other departments collectively manage wildlife protection. This multi departmental management means that it is unclear who is responsible for the overall protection of wildlife or in who is responsible for certain aspects of wildlife protection. Combined with this is the fact that enforcement costs are very high while the risks to those involved in illegal activities concerning wildlife are low. Provisions for wildlife breeding and consumption also remain unclear.
Luo believes under the current Wildlife Protection Law, only “precious and endangered species” are taken in consideration as objectives for protection, which is a very narrow view point and runs against the idea of biodiversity conservation and eco-balance. The ambiguous term “rational use” turns wildlife, and specifically certain species, into a “resource” to be used rather than protected.
The Researcher of the Institute of Law, part of the Chinese Academy of Social Science whose Associate Director of Jurisprudence Office, Dr He Hairen asserted that the revised Wildlife Protection Law should withdraw or strictly restrict the use of the term “rational use”, which can be used as a loophole by interested parties, such as Guizhentang, a traditional Chinese medicine company, who extract bear bile.
The NPC deputy, chairman of Anhui Tianfang Tea Group Ltd, Zheng Xiaochang, commented during the workshop that “Recent dog and cat sales for consumption have grown in Guangdong and Guangxi, which has the potential to increase risks to food safety, which will affect the general public.”
Zheng also explained, “under Chinese current legislation, only wildlife is protected but there is no legislation on protecting domesticat animals. The Animal Protection Law should also be considered, which has the potential to prohibit commercial transportation of live cats and dogs; close the illegal markets and slaughtering houses for the selling and processing of dog and cat meat and prevent dog and cat meat from becoming a commercial industry.”
An Xiang, the president of Beijing Dexiang Law Firm commented on the workshop:
“In the context of the Constitution, protection of wildlife is the objective; however, in the context of the Wildife Protection Law, wildlife becomes a resource which can be rationally utilised. It surpasses the power of the Constitution by definition.”
An also pointed out that the current system of wildlife domestication and breeding licences can be a “whitewashing” process for the illegal businesses.
Zhang Yue, the director of Beijign Aita Animal Protection Foundation explained: “the current Wildife Protection Law provides legitimacy for “rational use ” of wildlife as a resource. Due to this loophole, illicit wildlife trade is openly in operation under legal cover.
Luo suggested, the revised Wildlife Protection Law should be clear about its purpose: “to protect wildlife and the habitats thereof; to conserve the biodiversity and restore eco-balance; to withdraw the provisions contain the term ‘use’ or similar expressions; to strictly distinguish commercial breeding from rescuing and breeding with conservational purpose; to avoid inter-departmental interest conflicts and suggest the forestry police to be managed under Ministry of Police Security.”