Tiger bone medicines still on sale

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 15 November, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 November, 1994, 12:00am

CHINESE pharmacies in Britain continue to sell medicines that are made from endangered species, including tigers, investigators have discovered.

Just weeks after the World Wide Fund for Nature exposed the role Chinese pharmacies play in selling the medicines to the Chinese population in the United Kingdom, the Environmental Investigation Agency has found the trade continues to flourish.

The investigation, timed to coincide with a conference in Florida, centred on eight Chinese pharmacies.

The eco-detectives discovered illegal tiger products were on sale in four outlets with tiger bone selling for GBP8 (HK$99) and tiger gel for GBP3 at one pharmacy in London's Soho Chinatown area.

Agency investigators equipped with hidden cameras found illegal bear products on sale in three shops.

In Birmingham, investigators found plentiful supplies of tiger bone selling at GBP20 for 30 grams.

The pharmacist at one shop said he had personally smuggled the tiger bone into the UK from Hong Kong.

It was sold as 'musk' and 'bone strength plaster' without any mention of tiger on the box.

In Manchester, two pharmacies were found to be breaking the law. One shop offered bear gall bladders and bile for GBP50 for three grams.

At another in the city, tiger bone was for sale but the shopkeeper indicated it was only available to ethnic Chinese and not to 'whites or Westerners'.

The agency's deputy executive director, Steve Trent, said: 'The consumer boom in Europe, North America and the Far East is creating a black hole for endangered species.