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The use of wildlife as traditional medicine is a phenomenon that occurs across the world and has been of cultural importance for many people and societies for millennia. These practices remain widespread and varied, involving a wide array of species across all taxonomic groups.

But what impact is demand for Traditional Chinese Medicine* having on wildlife? Would practitioners and consumers be willing to switch to plant-based alternatives? How does the international wildlife community understand Traditional Chinese Medicine, the species involved, and what now needs to be done to safeguard animal welfare and species survival?

The Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) University of Oxford, in collaboration with World Animal Protection, is excited to announce a forthcoming online symposium that will showcase our latest research findings of related fields and the potential for plant based substitutes to help meet conservation and animal welfare goals.

With this online symposium, we hope to stimulate discussion on how Traditional Chinese Medicine is perceived and understood by academics and NGOs (both within and outside of China), and the extent to which plant-based Traditional Chinese Medicine could (and whether it should) be used to redirect consumer demand for wildlife- based Traditional Medicines.

Ultimately, this online symposium will serve as a platform for knowledge exchange, with the aim of stimulating the wildlife community to think critically about the issues that we raise, in the hope of facilitating a future path towards consensus on how best to protect species that are being negatively impacted by consumer demand for wild animals.

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All presentations will take place online. The symposium will conclude with a 45-minute panel discussion with the opportunity for panellists to receive questions from symposium attendees. All presentations will have simultaneous translation in English and Chinese.

Opening Introduction

Professor David W. Macdonald

This opening introduction will provide background information on the overarching aim of this symposium and what it hopes to achieve. It also outlines the research methods used to obtain the ground breaking scientific findings that underpin it, and the various organisations that have contributed along the way.

Theme 1: Background - History & Modern Complexities of TCM

Dr Tom Moorhouse

This theme explores the view of TCM among Western wildlife professionals, and describes the role of TCM in the global trade in wildlife. We define aspects of TCM of relevance to wildlife protection, and demonstrate how improving the understanding of TCM by Western wildlife professionals could begin to ease existing tensions between TCM and wildlife protection.

Theme 2: Current State of Wildlife Based TCM – Scope & Scale

Dr. Angie Elwin

This theme poses the question of to what extent is trade for TCM limited to official TCM taxa? We present research findings on the diversity of wildlife involved in the different facets of TCM, and demonstrate that a substantial international trade exists for TCM in species outside of those explicitly listed in the Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China.

Theme 3: Plant-Based TCM – Unrealised Potential?

Dr. Neil D'Cruze

This theme poses the question of how could we minimise the impacts of TCM on wildlife, while allowing TCM to thrive, globally? In beginning to answer this, we present the findings of initial surveys of both TCM consumers and TCM professionals – whose responses provide the first steps of a path towards a solution.

Theme 4: What’s Next – For Consumers & Wildlife

Gilbert Sape

This theme further explores the impacts that TCM can have on animal welfare and conservation. It also places key research findings into a broader practical context, and sets the scene for a live panel discussion that hopes to stimulate the wildlife community to think critically about how we could work together to help wildlife and TCM to thrive.


Professor Macdonald

Professor David W. Macdonald

British Zoologist and Conservation Scientist

Professor David Macdonald CBE, is a British Zoologist and Conservation Scientist holding DPhil and DSc research degrees from Oxford and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (FRSE). He is Founder and Director (1986) of the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit (WildCRU) at the University of Oxford, internationally regarded as a global leader both in conservation research and as a hub for training graduate conservationists. Professor Macdonald has won numerous international awards and accolades for his research and engagement with public policy (including the highest awards of both the American and British societies for mammalogy, and appointment to an A.D. White Professorship at Large at Cornell University) and has been instrumental in popularising biology through his films and writing. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Science in 2010.

Zoology Tom Moorhouse By John Cairns 1.11.17 13

Dr. Tom Moorhouse

Senior Researcher in Wildlife Product Demand Management

Tom has been a member of Oxford University’s Wildlife Conservation Research Unit since 1999, when he joined as a doctoral student. He is now Senior Researcher in Wildlife Product Demand Management, a role he has occupied since 2014. His studies employ a variety of methodologies to investigate the impacts and drivers of the global consumption of wildlife-derived products (e.g. animals bought as exotic pets) and experiences (e.g. wildlife tourism). His work has so far resulted in over 60 peer-reviewed scientific articles, book chapters and handbooks.


Dr. Angie Elwin

Wildlife Research Manager

Angie is a wildlife research manager at World Animal Protection. She has been involved in research focusing on several global issues related to the commercial use of wild animals, including online trade for the exotic pet market and trade in wildlife in Africa, Asia and South America for use as traditional medicine. Her research background is in marine conservation and she has previously led ecological studies in East Africa and Southeast Asia focusing on habitat protection and ecosystem functioning in mangrove forests.


Dr. Neil D’Cruze

International Head of Wildlife Research

Neil is the international head of wildlife research at World Animal Protection. His diverse areas of interest include legal and illegal components of the global wildlife trade. As a visiting academic at WildCRU, he has recently published new findings on the use of wildlife as traditional medicine in Asia, South America, and Africa. During his career he has lived, worked and travelled in over 40 countries across six continents and has published more than 70 peer-reviewed scientific articles.

Chenny Feng

Chenny Feng

PwC | Senior Manager at ESG department

Chenny Feng is the senior manager of the ESG department at PwC China. With 12 years of management consulting experience, Chenny has been involved in eco-agriculture and green food industries, and he has served clients in a wide range of industry sectors, including well-known catering brands, distribution channels, farms, and food processing factories, etc. During his career at PwC, Chenny pays particular attention to the practice of animal protection issues in China and leads multiple World Animal Protection strategic projects to build long-term business cooperation between PwC and World Animal Protection. He has supported farms and industry to practice compliance and standardization management in response to World Animal Protection’s advocacy on animal welfare. For the “Wildlife Friendly Medicines- Humane Pharmaceutical Businesses Initiative” project, he successfully called on a number of pharmaceutical companies to proactively sign the proposal. And he was invited by the World Animal Protection UK headquarter to attend the seminar on the topic of animal protection. Chenny focuses on ESG integration in China and acquired extensive experience. He has led projects including Walmart’s blockchain traceability system, CSR reporting of China leading agriculture brand, compliance projects for world-renowned food processor brand, and food safety integration assessment projects for global coffee chain brands.

Deloitte Golden Mi

Gorden Mi

Senior Manager, Deloitte China

Mr. Mi is currently the Senior Manager in Deloitte China, with a focus on healthcare and pharmaceutical consulting services. He has provided consulting services to clients in international and national renowned medical institutions and pharmaceutical companies for more than 10 years. He specializes in strategy development and operation management of international One Health industry. At Deloitte China, Mr. Mi particularly focuses on the innovation of medical and pharmaceutical industries. He led the team on nearly 20 consulting programs in strategy development, organization optimization and operation management. He deeply cares for animal protection and builds long-term collaboration with World Animal Protection to facilitate more pharmaceutical companies in joining the Humane Pharmaceutical Businesses Initiative.


Gilbert Sape

global head of campaign - wildlife. not medicine

Gilbert heads a global campaign which aims to end the use of wildlife in traditional medicine and promote plant-based alternatives. He has been with World Animal Protection for the last seven years – campaigning with country offices and partners to end wildlife farming in various countries. Prior to this, Gilbert worked on global campaigns on food, agriculture & biodiversity issues over the last 20 years.

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* We here use the term Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in the same way as many international organisations that study the animal welfare and species conservation impacts that arise from the supply of materials for traditional medicines in China. Our own work demonstrates, however, that this broad term in fact represents numerous distinct facets, which can have very different impacts on animals and plants.