Initiative launched to reduce tiger product consumption in Vietnam

HANOI – UK-based charity TRAFFIC launched a three-year social marketing program on December 10 to reduce the demand for tiger products in Vietnam, which is recognized as a main destination market for illegal tiger trade.

At the launch event, speakers discuss how the project will contribute to driving down the consumption of tiger products – PHOTO: VAN LY

Funded by the UK Government through the Illegal Wildlife Trade Challenge Fund, the project will draw upon behavioral science to discourage the medicinal use of tiger products in the country.

The launch ceremony was attended by 60 government leaders, traditional medicine practitioners and other project partners and featured presentations explaining how the project will contribute to a change in social norms throughout the Vietnamese society.

TRAFFIC will address individual demand through a multimedia behavior change campaign while calling on government partners, such as the National Assembly, the Ministry of Health and the Central Committee of Propaganda and Education, to strengthen their policies toward wildlife protection.

Representatives within the traditional medicine sector will be key project allies in working to mobilize their peers against the prescription of illegal wildlife products and promote legal alternatives.

“We support this project as a positive effort to protect the reputation, credibility and sustainable future development of the traditional medicine sector in Vietnam,” noted Dr. Tran Xuan Nguyen, head of Medical Professionalism Department of the Vietnam Oriental Traditional Medicine Association.

Despite a global ban on the trade in tigers, the demand for tiger products in Vietnam remains strong, with a TRAFFIC consumer survey from 2017 finding that 6% of respondents had used tiger products and that 64% of them would recommend tiger products to others. Tiger bone glue was revealed to be the most popular tiger product and will be the focus of the project.

“Vietnam has the power to make a huge impact on the future of tigers. This project will not only work to discourage the consumption of tiger products, it will also seek to facilitate the country’s leadership on global conservation issues,” stated Sarah Ferguson, director of TRAFFIC’s Vietnam office.