Artwork by Asher Jay
Tiger bone cake (right) and wine are among the popular traditional Chinese medicine products that have enticed organized crime to the poaching business. In Vietnam a candy bar-size piece of tiger bone cake can sell for $1,000, and small bottles of tiger bone wine go for hundreds of dollars apiece. They’re thought by some to reward the consumer with the tiger’s natural strength. This claim is debatable, to say the least, but there’s no doubt that trade in these products promotes a continued slaughter that is pushing wild tiger populations to the brink. (Related: “’Cyberpoaching’ Feared as New Threat to Rare Wildlife.”)
Asher Jay created this and other images because she hopes they can help to enact change among the people making consumer choices that ultimately lead to tiger deaths.
““For me, status symbols are culturally ingrained; they are perpetuated by a stagnating society that has failed to question its past, truly embrace its present or consciously prepare for its future. Culture mirrors the human condition and the human condition mirrors the state of the planet it dwells in. If we are capable of evolution, so is culture, which means status or tradition isn’t a good enough reason to continue doing something.” she says. “I try to address the time line that the practice has been in place, and find a way to challenge its relevance in the present and future tense.»
«In this specific work, the tiger bones steeping in a cup of wine, helps the viewer note that a living being was slaughtered for a consumer choice. It educates people, as to the true cost of the product, because people are invariably ignorant of the obvious. They know that the cake or wine is made of tiger bone but they don’t associate it with the fact that an awe-inspiring predator, a uniquely striped big cat has to die for it.”
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