From October 2nd until the end of November 2022, ENV shared information with nearly 2,000 traditional medicine business establishments in 9 major cities across Vietnam and called for them to join the Wildlife-friendly Traditional Medicine Businesses/Practitioners Network, as well as commit to not participate in the illegal trade of traditional medicine (TM) derived from endangered wildlife.
The state of hunting, trading, and consuming endangered wildlife remains complicated, with one of the root causes stemming from old beliefs and habits around using TM from wildlife to cure diseases or improve health.
Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung, ENV’s Vice Director, shared: “ENV recommends that TM businesses and practitioners choose to prescribe and trade sustainable medicines and herbs, instead of using wildlife products. We also encourage them to join the Wildlife-friendly Traditional Medicine Businesses/Practitioners Network as a way to show their support and take responsibility for biodiversity conservation and protecting Vietnam’s TM industry.”
All wildlife species are protected at different levels according to Vietnamese and international law. In addition to endangered species that are prohibited, according to the Investment Law, the act of advertising and trading other wildlife must follow to conditions prescribed by legal regulations, especially ensuring their legal origin. Any act of illegally storing and trading TM from wildlife is strictly prohibited and will face severe penalties in accordance with the law. The illegal act of advertising and selling wildlife medicinal products can be subject to an administrative fine of up to 100 million VND for individuals. Furthermore, the act of illegally possessing and trading wildlife medicinal products can also be prosecuted for criminal liability of up to 15 years in prison for individuals.
In early November 2022, the People’s Committee of Lang Son province fined a subject 85 million VND for illegally advertising and selling bear bile vials and rhino horns. Previously, in August 2022, the People’s Committee of Ha Giang province fined a subject 70 million VND for illegally advertising tiger gallbladders and bear bile. Tiger gallbladders, bear bile and rhino horns are often advertised as a medical “panacea”, with magical health benefits and will be sold at high prices on the internet or at TM businesses.
The communication pledge that was sent to TM businesses and practitioners included “5 reasons for committing not to sell wildlife TM products”, including the preservation of TM culture/tradition, avoiding risks associated with advertising and selling, gaining the public’s trust, requiring less frequent monitoring by authorities and earning a spot in ENV’s growing Wildlife-friendly TM Business/Practitioners Network.
As part of the wider campaign to raise public awareness about the use of TM from wildlife, on November 6, 2022, the Run for Wildlife with the theme “Wildlife is NOT medicine” was organized by Sporting Republic in collaboration with ENV. This event had the participation of more than 350 individual runners from 25 countries, and was covered in national news. Furthermore, the short film “Say NO to Traditional Medicine from Wildlife” was released in June 2022 and shared on social media, including YouTube, Facebook and TikTok.