Chickenwire and Chewing Gum

Over the past few weeks, Barun Mitra, a director of the Liberty Institute, has been endorsing a possible move by China to lift its ban on trade in tiger parts. It is, he argues, the only way to save wild tigers — tiger farms in China have no less than 5,000 tigers in captivity; given that tigers “breed easily in captivity, these can quickly ramp that number up to 100,000 tigers in the next 10 to 15 years”; as the market fills with farmed tigers, poaching will become economically unattractive.

In this article eventually published in mint, biologist Vidya ‘Waghoba’ Athreya and I describe his formulation as no more than a half-baked suggestion “held together by little more than the intellectual equivalent of chicken wire and chewing gum.”