Are There Endangered Animals in Your So-Called Chinese Herbs?
By Dr. Narda Robinson
If you’re like most animal lovers, you care about animals around the globe in addition to your own. This probably extends to those kept in cages for life and exploited for their bodily fluids, or wild animals that are being hunted by poachers for their bones, horns or fur. You may seek to live sustainably and purchase locally grown products when possible. You may even pursue holistic or integrative medicine for your dog or cat, which may involve Chinese herbs, in order to reduce the synthesized drugs he or she ingests and the negative impact of some pharmaceuticals on their bodies and the planet. If so, I have some questions for you to think about.
Q: Does your holistic veterinarian sell Chinese herbs and, if so, do you realize that they may contain endangered species, worms or insects?
A: If not, you also might have missed that Chinese folkloric herbal prescribing has traditionally involved heavy metals and toxins. Even if you buy them from your veterinarian, many traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or traditional Chinese veterinary medicine (TCVM) “herbal” products made and sold in the U.S. and abroad have violated CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) rules. These have been instituted in order to prevent threats to the survival of wild species of animals and plants.
One would think this would worry certain “holistic” veterinarians who routinely sell Chinese “herbs,” but TCVM folkloric practices have become big business in the U.S. and Europe, nonetheless. What’s worse, TCVM veterinarians are trained to sell proprietary products — that is, mixtures prepared by a traditional Chinese medicine “master” that contain secret ingredients — despite having little information about safety, mechanisms of action, interactions, side effects, manufacturing standards, ecological risks or public health concerns.
Q: Considering the Food and Drug Administration scrutiny that … read more
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