Are financial institutions around the world supporting pangolin poaching?

In the wild there are 8 pangolin species, 4 in Asia and 4 in Africa. The country you that is best known for using pangolin scales in ancient history is China, and while these days officially this no longer happens there is still a large portion of the wealthy elite who has until recently continued to use it. Doesn’t it seem weird that a family of animals called pangolins, until recently largely unknown in the West, could be push towards extinction for medicine that has been shown time and again to do nothing at all.

Pangolin are easily picked up by poachers, as a threat causes them to roll up in a ball. This is a tree pangolin, some species are much larger, all are rare and threatened with extinction.

I say until recently because there has been an effort to readdress advertising campaigns against this average,by showing the uses pictures of the animals and how they are killed. For many of the current users in Vietnam and China, and other countries in the area, are unaware are that pangolins are killed to create this medicine.

This does seem a bit odd, though I presume they think it is like cutting our fingernails.

As a result of this behaviour in Asia, the fall Asian pangolin species are all critically endangered.

China Beijing Tong Ren Tang Co Ltd. Is a pharmaceutical company with a licence to continue to use pangolin scales. Now set aside the fact the pangolin scales have been proven to have no medicine all value- and the fact that pangolin scales are chemically basically human fingernails (if pangolin scales can cure anything, eating your own fingernails would have a similar effect).

However, this company has subsidiaries based in the UK and the USA,and are happily funded by financial institutions from around the world.

This vast company is known to still be selling traditional Chinese medicines- despite each of these scientificly investigated showing no mathematically discernible improvement in conditions, and despite the fact that these medicines are pushing many wild species towards extinction.

The argument that the west should not intervene,and that we shouldn’t stop them doing something they have been doing it for centuries is rubbish. Chinese medicine of this sort, was generally only used by the ruling class and has never been a common occurrence. In Vietnam and Laos, the tradition that they speak of has not been around longer than 50 or so years- it is not baked into that custom,it is something that is thrown out of the destruction of the environment since the middle of the 20th century.

Given all this, the idea of the Western financial firms including Vanguard, Morgan Stanley, BlackRock, Deutsche Bank, St James’ Place and Standard Life Aberdeen, I would think that this is a company they want to deal with is disgusting.

BlackRock did try to to dismiss this,both by saying that they only have a half percent ownership in this company, and that they have tried to engage with them on environmental and social governance topics. However this is nowhere near good enough- a half percent stake is significant in a large company (while admittedly one of the largest companies in the world, a half percent stake in Tesla would equate to more than 2 billion dollars), frankly any investment in a company he is like this is disgusting.

The other companies all claimed that their Investments were either small, or were through another fund that invests in companies in particular markets. Neither of these excuses are good enough – I am quite sure that there are funds, in these countries, that invest locally and do their due diligence. Indeed if not, these financial investment companies need only request it. If a Asian investment fund went public with the fact that they avoid companies like this, they would likely get a great deal of business.

Apart from the horrific wildlife destruction that these practices involve, of greater concerned is the fact that this sort of behaviour is likely to lead to another epidemic like the coronavirus. One would think, given the horrific damage that this is done to the worlds financial systems, would be a good enough reason to stop this exploitation-and by this I mean governmental bodies enforcing the rules that generally already exist.

This Chinese company goes back 350 years. However on its website while it talks about quality and care taken in its creation, it doesn’t talk anywhere about its environmental impact or it’s use of wild animals. Essentially this is blurb written for the Asian market,if it was known before these Investments were made the European investors would refuse to have their money used that way.

Financial firms around the world need to make it clear, there is a choice either continue to decimate the natural world so that you can supply traditional medicines for another decade or two until you have eradicated the species you harvest,or have access to the global financial markets – you must not be able to have both.

I urge readers to avoid where possible these financial institutions. If you already have dealings with them, complain: due to the size of these investments it is likely to take very little to stop them supporting this company -it may even take little pressure to stop this company doing something that is damaging the natural world. 

If these medicine practices are going to become impossible due to extinction of the animals that supply the parts, then these medicines will become impossible to create in the near future anyway. Scientifically, those that have been tested have shown to have at best a placebo effect. Furthermore with the current ability to grow various things in the laboratory, it is likely to become possible to grow most if not all of these ingredients in the lab and avoid the destruction of the natural world.

For those who think, well this is a rare animal who cares if it goes extinct consider this, pangolins are a keystone species. Ecosystems without pangolins and aardvarks can rapidly be overwhelmed by insects. These insects can consume large areas of grassland, and make fires and starvation among grazes far more common. They play an important part within the ecosystem they reside, and it is insane to even consider their extinction to support a false belief that they are good for people’s health.

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