Traditional Chinese Medicine is a millennia-old ethnic medical system used by an increasing number of adherents of both Asian and non-Asian descent throughout the world, which forms an integral part of the Chinese identity, philosophy and culture. The raw materials used in Traditional Chinese Medical treatments are obtained from naturally-occurring minerals, wild plants, and animals, a percentage of which are, unfortunately, dangerously rare species prohibited from international trade by CITES, (the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora). CITES has been declared to be one of the most successful international environmental agreements of all time, yet this has done little to curb the demand for, and international trade in, Traditional Chinese Medicine products created from such endangered species components. This article explores some of the reasons for CITES’ lack of success, the implications for Canada (as both supplier and buyer) in the Traditional Chinese Medicine trade, and some possible solutions by which to remedy the situation, before irreversible harm is done to Canada’s native wildlife and to those who depend upon it.
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Jacquelyn A Shaw, "CITES: A Toothless Tiger in the Black Market for Traditional Chinese Medicines? " (2003) 12 Dal J Leg Stud 135.