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The Illegal Tiger Trade Research Paper

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Updated: Oct 29th, 2021

The illegal tiger trade is one of the ethical and moral problems that affected a modern community. Bernard Shaw writes: “When a man wants to murder a tiger he calls it sport; when a tiger wants to murder him he calls it ferocity.” Departing from the traditional emphasis on animal and humane treatment, many activists actively oppose the use of animals for any purpose and speak out against illegal trade, confinement livestock and poultry production, and use of animals in product testing, for pleasure and leisure activities.

Other organizations conduct campaigns and demonstrations against the production and use of animals for fur; they also oppose trapping and hunting, whaling, and the killing of dolphins in the fishing industry or capture for display in zoos and aquariums. The illegal tiger trade violates the rights of animals and leads the population to extinction.

Scientists claim that there are mass extinctions and ‘background’ or ‘random’ extinctions. The tiger belongs in a third category, of human-induced extinctions, and so joins vast numbers of terrestrial, arboreal, aerial, and aquatic species which have become extinct in just that way. However, it would be dangerous in the extreme to ascribe positive Darwinian notions of survival of the fittest to justify the extinction of, say, the dodo or the passenger pigeon.

The statistics of human-induced extinctions can be mindboggling. According to statistical results, “Tiger Panthera Tigris is the most admired animal Thus, it included in Endangered on the IUCN (the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources) Red List of Threatened Species, “with an effective population size of fewer than 2,500 mature breeding individuals” (Taming the Tiger Trade 1993).

Tigers are one of the most popular animals in the USA but also one of the most popular animals for fur and hunting. After decades of being ‘on the fringe,’ animal rights advocacy has become a mainstream grassroots movement. Extinction explains the tiger’s disappearance. This extinction process inevitably operates over a very long period of time and, equally inevitably, climate plays a role of some sort in it. Climate change alters growing conditions, which affect herbivores; in turn, carnivores are affected.

The main species under threat are the Tasmanian tiger (the last known wild tiger was killed in 1930) and Sumatran tiger (400-500 tigers in the world), the South Chinese Tiger (1000 wild tigers), and an Indian tiger (1000 wild tigers) (IUCN 2008). Meanwhile, it is no coincidence that Tasmania, the island that killed its tiger and has regretted it ever since has much of its landmass locked away as a World Heritage Area and parkland. This makes it one of the world’s most protected places. Conservation issues remain highly emotive in Tasmania because there is seen to be a close correlation between one form of environmental extinction and another.

For many Tasmanians, old-growth logging has been so comprehensive for so long that it differs little from the thylacine slaughter in which their forebears indulged. Several groups have emphasized the need to find alternatives to animals for both research and testing purposes. Others advocate more emphasis on preventive education and less on animal research. Animal welfare has become a new priority for activists. Nationwide, various groups publicize what they see as unacceptable conditions for animals and lobby for legislation to set stricter standards for their shelter, management, and treatment.

The political influence of the animal industry probably explains why the federal government so far has notably avoided regulation of animal care on animals despite several bills brought before Congress. However, efforts to force changes in management practices in livestock and poultry production are likely to continue. Violence by animal rights activists began in England, home to the world’s oldest animal welfare tradition (Turner 38).

The political dimension of the animal rights movement involves individual and group efforts supporting or opposing specific issues (Budiansky 43). It may have seemed like a comprehensive victory in the belated attempt to save the thylacine, but in reality, this deal marked the first—and decidedly least bitter—three-way contact between Tasmania’s officialdom, its economic oligarchies, and its conservationists. The fight for Tasmania’s future was about to start, and at its heart was a tiger. Extinction, exploitation, preservation, had inevitably come together (Budiansky 93).

In the biosphere, species are challenged by fluctuations in the physical environment, predation, parasitism, and competition for resources. Extinction results when species, highly adapted to one set of conditions, are unable to survive under new conditions. The history of the dinosaur attests to the eventual fate of many organisms–extinction. Since the origin of life, three to four billion years ago, researchers have estimated that 99 percent of all species that once existed have disappeared.

This is because living organisms were unable to adapt to changes in the biosphere. The rate of species extinction has a significant impact on society, as well as on the entire biosphere. For example, genetic diversity better enables species to adapt to changing environmental conditions. Species diversity is the key to such fundamental ecological concepts as the food web and ecosystem stability. Generally, the most complex ecological communities, which are composed of many different species, are the most stable and therefore the most resistant to bioecological change. Simpler ecological communities are more fragile, being less able to withstand changes and survive (Budiansky 93).

None of this could possibly bode well for a perilously endangered species reliant for its survival on a total absence of human interference. But interest in it continued, to the extent that at the official level there were fears that tigers were, more than ever, being pursued personal gain. The main areas of extinction are India and China. Given the vulnerability of single populations to extinction, the traditional premise that local speciation occurs within single isolated populations is not readily supported. In China and India tigers are used for ritual purposes. These countries are the main contributors to the problem of tiger extinction and illegal trade problem affecting the various species and subspecies. For instance, the tigers’ fur is skinned for ceremonial purposes, the bones and meat is used for various purposes Species complexes arise and die.

They persist longer than individual species, how much so depending on the level of ecological and geographical diversification and on the number of species and their overall population sizes. The maturation of polyploid complexes often is accompanied by a decline in the range size and number of the diploid pillars. In some complexes no diploids are extant. Some complexes maybe millions of years old. Following Francis Duggan, “More creatures are in danger of extinction every day And extinction is forever that seems so sad to say” (n.d.). This remark shows that extinction is inevitable because there is a demand for tiger heads and fur in the world.

The major item of concern for our session, however, is the fact that consumerism and the consumer viewpoint do not seem to be well represented in public policy developments. A consumer perspective does not appear to have proceeded the enactment of various federal agency roles and constraints on the business system of the past. If nothing else has changed, certainly the climate of the times, the characteristics of consumers, their very outlooks, educational perspectives and expectations, the practices of businesses, the nature of business and political response, and mass communications are vastly different (Hills 23).

The consumer perspectives in times past were even more unorganized, even more poorly represented, and far less institutionalized on state and federal government levels. The consumer viewpoint had far fewer advocates. Consumers themselves were more fettered both socially and economically. The result is that the consumer viewpoint, in order to be focused and congealed, seemed to be more dependent on a crisis, tragedy, or scandal before actions benefiting the consumer on the part of either government or business could be expected.

“The trade-in big cats is one of six episodes in the latest Animal Planet documentary, Crime Scene Wild, which deals with the unsavory issue of wildlife trafficking. Helming the show is wildlife crime investigator Steve Galster of Wildlife Alliance, formerly known as Wild Aid, the conservation outfit that had roped in celebrities for its campaign with the catchy tag line” (Chew 2008).

Animal welfare generally describes those who support the humane treatment of all animals without concern for their ultimate use. An “animal welfarist” believes that humans have the right to use animals, as long as suffering is reduced or eliminated. Those who believe in animal welfare work for the reform of cruel or abusive situations to alleviate animal suffering (Hills 29). Animal scientists and agricultural engineers have conducted extensive research on animal treatment, the production environment, and the design of facilities. The animal rights philosophy (encompassing animal liberation) includes some fundamental differences from animal welfare.

It involves the idea that nonhuman animals are sentient beings — that they have the capacity to experience pain and pleasure. And accompanying this belief is the idea that animals have certain inalienable moral rights, which humans should not violate (Hutton 103).

The example of the illegal tiger trade shows that modern consumers and society, in general, are driven by the desire to meet its needs and demands rather than protect the environment and wildlife extinction. Modern society talks much about the protection of animals and their rights but does nothing to change this situation. Following factors from the article “Controlling the Illegal Tiger Trade”: “Confiscations of tiger products and incidents of poaching in Russia, India, and Indochina increased in the early 1990s. Evidence suggests that this escalation is related to rising demand for tiger products in East Asia” (CONTROLLING THE ILLEGAL TIGER TRADE n.d.).

An important activity is to consider the issues, share insights and opinions, and become better informed. In turn, this should result in a decrease in the need for the kinds of consumer programs now being demanded and perhaps the emergence of a new role for the consumer movement. Philosophy, as a field of study, is normally considered complex and difficult to understand for those who have not read extensively and studied the lines of reasoning used by philosophers (Mander 206).

Illegal tiger trade can be compared with illegal drug trafficking which represents the whole industry of planting, trafficking, and selling. Illegal tiger trade consists of illegal hunting, trafficking, and trade. The temporal history of species provides some insights into the status of species rarity. Neoendemics may not be in a state of decline, especially if they are adapted to specialized habitats and are locally abundant.

The spatial and temporal patterns of species decline are important to consider in conjunction with the overall issue of decline. A gradual change in climate may alter the relationships between species and the biota with which they interact, which in turn may lead to spatially heterogeneous patterns of decline. Pollinators and seed dispersers may change in their identity and abundance, and more importantly, they may decline in their effectiveness. Aside from the trafficking organizations that extend into or are based in principal consumer countries, evidence—both hard and soft—exists of substantial organized production and marketing networks in most of the producer and transit countries.

Aside from their disdain for institutions and their long criminal records, Colombian traffickers share other characteristics. They appear to be great believers in fate and providence and are therefore not reluctant to place themselves in harm’s way. They seem unmoved by normal considerations of personal danger. It is a perspective unaltered by normal law-enforcement efforts and one that makes dealing with or trying to control them such a dangerous enterprise. Disdain, criminality, fate, and providence aside, Colombian traffickers have an almost frantic desire to be assimilated into society, polity, and economy.

They see this as a way to protect and legitimize their wealth and property, enabling them to repatriate most of it and to enjoy it as conspicuously as possible. However, this concept does not imply that animals have all the same rights as humans. Differences between humans and nonhuman animals also provide a basis for differences in their rights. But the basic principle is one of equality, not necessarily treating animals and humans in the same way, but giving them equal consideration for the abilities that they possess (Turner 87). Under the new moral ethic, animals are considered sentient beings, like human beings.

While some early philosophers disagreed with this concept, most people believe that mammals with a nervous system similar to humans do feel pain. This recognition underlies many of the moral and ethical principles of animal liberation and animal rights (Mander 209).

Animal rights and some animal welfare groups target commercial mink production because they believe confinement production deprives the mink of its natural environment in the wild and because the animals are raised in close confinement and slaughtered by what the groups view as cruel and painful methods. They also view fur as an unnecessary product for clothing and apparel. Trapping is also targeted. The steel-jaw leghold traps, illegal in sixty-five countries, bring slow death to wildlife. The trapped animals sometimes chew their legs off to escape, or they freeze. Many animals not wanted for furs, such as pets and other wild species, may also be caught in the traps (Marcus 154).

If nothing is done, in several decades tigers will be an instinctive animals. If the rate of consumption or loss of a given renewable resource exceeds the maximum replenishment or harvesting for an extensive period of time, the stocks will be depleted. The human system, dependent on the stocks, would be impoverished and eventually perish. The lesson here is simple but important: If the consumption rate in a population exceeds the replacement rate (no matter how small the difference), the relative scarcity will grow exponentially.

“WWF also uses political influence when appropriate to encourage countries to crack down on illegal tiger trade and increase their support for tiger conservation efforts” (CONTROLLING THE ILLEGAL TIGER TRADE n.d.). Some opportunities for reform that might be pursued in the laboratory animal research area include refinement of research techniques, reduction in numbers of animals used, and replacement of some animal methods with other procedures.

The companion animal industry presents a special challenge (Oldfield 82). To pursue these ends, traffickers have established vast networks —both clandestine and aboveboard—involving normal politicians, financial institutions, members of professions, bankers, and others. The fact that most illegal traders have a certain disdain for the state has served to facilitate traffickers’ being admitted to a kind of full-ledged standing.

Above all, the traffickers do not want to be extradited to the United States, and they have used all their networks to that end, using various forms of violence. In the process of seeking social assimilation, various illicit-drug groups have pursued different emphases, some working to legalize their assets, others trying to obtain political power and social status first, and others attempting simply to undermine traditional institutions through corruption or violence. In this process, all of them apparently have established close relationships with, and gained influence over, some parts of the political establishment.

The philosophies and policies of those who manage our national parks and forests and other public wildlife habitats may be compatible or in conflict with animal protection groups, depending upon the policies that deal with wild animals. A profound philosophical schism exists between animal rights and environmental movements. One believes in the inherent value and equality of the individual, while the other beliefs in the superiority of the whole (Turner 38).

Animal rights philosophers favor natural resource policy that protects the individual interests of animals, while most environmental philosophers favor policies that seek broad, system-wide goals. Viewed in this context, the discrepancies and conflicts between animal rights activists and environmentalists become clear. Environmentalists see the whole; animal rightists see the parts. Thus, environmentalists support wildlife management, such as the managed hunt of deer herds and the eradication of mountain goats, policies that are based on holistic, ecological ideals.

Works Cited

  1. Budiansky, S. The Covenant of the Wild: Why Animals Chose Domestication. Yale University Press, 1999.
  2. Chew, H. Wildlife SCI. 2008. Web.
  3. CONTROLLING THE ILLEGAL TIGER TRADE. n.d. Web.
  4. Duggan, F., And Extinction is Forever. n.d. Web.
  5. Hills, A. Do Animals Have Rights? Icon Books Ltd., 2005.
  6. Hutton, J. Endangered Species, Threatened Convention: The Past, Present and Future of CITES. Earthscan, 2000.
  7. IUCN 2008. Web.
  8. Mander, J. “The Walling of Awareness,” Literature and the Environment, Eds. Lorraine Anderson, Scott Slovic, John O’Grady, New York: Longman, 1999. 205-212.
  9. Marcus, E. Meat Market: Animals, Ethics, & Money. Brio Press, 2005.
  10. Oldfield, S. The Trade in Wildlife: Regulation for Conservation. Earthscan Publications, 2003.
  11. Taming the Tiger Trade. 1993. Web.
  12. Turner, J. Animals, Ethics and Trade: The Challenge of Animal Sentience. Earthscan Ltd, 2006.
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