Pangolins Protected from Use in Oriental Medicine | The Institute for Creation Research
Pangolins Protected from Use in Oriental Medicine
Pangolins just received an odd form of political protection.1

Found in southeast Asia and Africa, these creatures look like a cross between a Texas armadillo and an aardvark anteater.2 (When Spanish conquistadores encountered armadillos in Texas, they called them “pigs wearing armor” but soon learned to eat them.)

Pangolins are covered in robust layers of keratin scales that make them look a cross between an artichoke and a pineapple. These formidable scales make up about 20 percent of their body weight.2

After decades of being trafficked for what many assume are its almost-magical qualities in its unusual horn-like scales, it is receiving political protection in China.1

China has removed pangolins from its official list of traditional Chinese medicine treatments, according to reports. The move, reported by China's Health Times newspaper, comes after China raised the animal's protected status to the highest level last week. … All eight species are threatened with extinction.1

And it is the human consumption of pangolins, especially in the Orient, that has so jeopardized their population numbers.

It’s bad enough for pangolins that many enjoy eating their flesh as meat. But worse is the popular belief that the material in pangolin scales is medicinally potent. This has fueled a black market of trafficking pangolin parts.

The scales are highly coveted by traditional Chinese medicine practitioners, while pangolin meat has been seen as a delicacy.1

Accordingly, traditional Oriental medicine and pharmacology threatened pangolin populations. Pangolin scale tissue has thus become a “controlled substance.”

"China's move to phase out pangolin scales from traditional medicines could be the game changer we have been waiting for," [Paul Thomson of ‘Save Pangolins’] said. "We hope China's next move will be to enforce the regulations and work to change consumer behaviour." And Katheryn Wise of animal welfare campaign group, World Animal Protection, said it was "great news" that China had upgraded pangolins to the highest level of protection and removed them from the Chinese Pharmacopoeia.1

Accordingly, the Chinese government has banned that time-honored medical tradition, illustrating what is sometimes called “sociological science.”3 According to Dr. Francis Schaeffer, “sociological science” is the marketing process used for promoting a scientific opinion that was not selected based upon whether it’s scientifically valid. Rather, it is labeled “scientific” based primarily upon political objectives.3

In the case of the endangered pangolin, the official science-promoting objective—as stated by the Chinese government—is to prevent extinction and promote biodiversity by prohibiting pangolin trafficking.

Yet there may be more sensitive factors involved in this controversial decree. Some say pangolins are used in Chinese coronavirus research.4,5 But that explanation is being summarily dismissed. Many say that suggestion must be rejected—just like investigators rejected suspicions of conspiratorial food-poisoning sabotage when a rash episode of salmonella food-poisoning broke out in a small community.6

Meanwhile, pangolins continue slurping up ants and termites, because that is what God designed them to do.2

References
1. Briggs, H. Hope for pangolins as protection boosted in China. BBC News. Posted on bbc.com June 9, 2020, accessed June 10, 2020.
2. Sherwin, F. 2016. The Pangolin: A Mammal with Lizard Scales. Creation Science Update. Posted on ICR.org November 17, 2016, accessed June 10, 2020. Pangolins glorify God just by being pangolins. See Colossians 1:16; Revelation 4:11.
3. Schaeffer, F. A. 1976. How Should We Then Live? Westchester, IL: Crossway Books, 150-225, especially 199-200.
4. “China banned the consumption of live wild animals for food in the wake of the [COVID-19] outbreak, but there are certain exemptions, such as for medicine or fur. Pangolins are in the spotlight as they have been found to carry strains of coronaviruses similar to COVID-19. Scientists are investigating whether trafficked pangolins might have played a role in the [Wuhan] virus moving from animals to humans, but the evidence is unclear.” (Briggs, H. Hope for pangolins as protection boosted in China.)
5. Hassanin, A. Coronavirus Origins: Genome Analysis Suggests Two Viruses May Have Combined. World Economic Forum. Posted on weforum.org March 20, 2020, accessed June 10, 2020.
6. Török, T. J., R. V. Tauxe, et al. 1997. A Large Community Outbreak of Salmonellosis Caused by Intentional Contamination of Restaurant Salad Bars. Journal of the American Medical Association. 278(5): 389-395.

*Dr. Johnson is Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.
The Latest
NEWS
"100-Million-Year-Old" Bacteria?
Researchers from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology have recovered what they claim are 100-million-year-old microbes. Drilling 74.5...

NEWS
Origin of Tectonic Plates Best Explained by the Flood
A new study published in Nature Communications claims to have figured out how the tectonic plates may have originated.1 It’s been over...

NEWS
Give Today and Support Biblical Creation Ministry
North Texas Giving Day is here once again! Will you help us reach the next generation? Your generosity will empower ICR and our Dallas Museum—the...

NEWS
Mammalian Brains Prove Evolutionary Disconnect
The evolutionary model of brain development predicted that the complexity of neural connectivity should have increased as brains became larger and the...

NEWS
North Texas Giving Day Next Week!
North Texas Giving Day is almost here! Will you help us reach the next generation? Your generosity will empower ICR and the ICR Discovery Center for Science...

NEWS
Celebrating One Year at the ICR Discovery Center
Thank you to all who joined us for the ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History’s First Anniversary Celebration! ICR staff enjoyed meeting...

NEWS
New Evidence Hurts Feathered Dinosaur Theory
Is a dinosaur still a dinosaur if it has flight feathers? A new study points to some fascinating evidence that contradicts the idea of feathered dinosaurs...

NEWS
New Planetarium Show: Exploring Deep Space
The ICR Discovery Center for Science & Earth History is celebrating its first anniversary since the Grand Opening on September 2, 2019. To commemorate...

NEWS
Inside September 2020 Acts & Facts
What's the story behind ICR's new President? What milestone are we celebrating this month at the ICR Discovery Center? How do comets affirm...

NEWS
Sunflower Heliotropism: August Sunlight for Making Tons of Seeds
August is an important month for sunflowers—those gigantic, bright-yellow flowers with brownish, round seed heads bordered by radiating yellow ligules...