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Explaining China's Wildlife Crisis

Explaining China's Wildlife Crisis

Cultural Tradition or Politics of Development

(p.317) 22 Explaining China's Wildlife Crisis
Ignoring Nature No More
Peter J. Li
University of Chicago Press

This chapter discusses the unprecedented exploitation and abuse of wildlife animals in China. It cites examples such as brutal farming operations that victimize tigers, bears, and fur animals; shark finning, where fishermen cut off fins and then toss the body back into the sea; and outdated enclosure design and poor management in the Chinese zoo industry. The chapter then considers the legacy of human–animal relations in Chinese culture and argues that Chinese cultural tradition does not sanction assault on wildlife animals and on nature in general. Daoism and Buddhism both call on society to respect nature and have mercy for other nonhuman lives. Confucianism also rejects excessive, unreasonable, and unplanned use of natural resources, including wildlife animals. It is not Chinese culture but the national drive for economic modernization that is responsible for the assault on Chinese wildlife.

Keywords:   wild animals, animal abuse, animal cruelty, animal welfare, Chinese culture

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