Today I want to discuss the ethics and approval of scientific research in the era of ecological civilization.
I recently read a report about the “reversal” after a “reversal”: When a scientist is studying Chinese white dolphin (Sousa chinensis), he needs to take live samples. Research afterwards. Someone accused him, described him as a big bad guy, said that this was not in line with the ethics of scientific research, said that he had not approved and violated the regulations. We disagree with this and express our opposition and anger.
Because his research methods and sampling in the wild living environment will not cause any major problems to the research topic. In fact, it will not harm its health, and the method used is actually an international scientific measurement method. This method can be used and is essential for research. And research plays a fundamental role in protecting species. As a national first-level society for biodiversity, China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation (CBCGDF) has set up a special Biological and Scientific Ethics Committee (BASE), which is considered to be in line with scientific principles.
So let’s talk about approval. We learned that this scientist had reported to the relevant authorities for an application but had not received a reply for a long time. We often encounter this situation. In fact, this is the case in most cases. After applying to the competent authority, the result was nothing.
We have submitted applications for research on pangolins to relevant departments many times, and almost none of them have been approved.
Except for one time, the rescue of pangolins in Guangdong Province, which was approved, none of the others were approved, and of course no response was received.
We study pangolins in many ways. For example, for the simplest research, we apply for a pangolin’s fecal sample, want little feces, and pick up a little hair and dander from it for sample analysis. Such research has no impact on wildlife. And on the contrary, the protection of wild animals is of great significance. However, even with such an application, we still cannot get approval – the competent authority did not act. We also recently submitted an application to the relevant department. Because more and more pangolins have been discovered nationwide, and pangolins have been discovered in the wild. We ask for sampling. If we can obtain a little bit of feces every time and conduct genetic research through feces, we can obtain very important basic data on the family, pedigree, heredity, distribution, etc. of pangolins across the country. This is essential for the protection of pangolins. We did not apply for funding, we only applied for “please allow us to do this research”, but we did not get any response. What shall we do in this situation? The pangolin is on the verge of extinction, what should we do? This is a major ethical issue.
Don’t know how the relevant departments operate, so we sympathize with this scientist very much. Because approvals are all in jeopardy, scientific research cannot afford to wait. Do we have to wait until all species are extinct? We have been to many places in the past few years, and only dozens of pangolins can be found. If these dozens of pangolins have not been sampling or researching them, how can we grasp the current situation of pangolins and how can we protect them?
The approval of scientific research and the ethics of scientific research should be open to the society, and national first-level societies such as the CBCGDF should also conduct ethical identification of related scientific research.
There are experts who publish papers in the world, which requires ethical recognition. We believe that the international community accepts the law of doing so recognized by them. We believe that the same is true for examination and approval. The central government has been demanding over the past few years to take the initiative to undertake the transfer of government functions and take the initiative to undertake related tasks, but the relevant departments have taken the power while not doing anything. The staff of the relevant department may not have time, he is busy, and he has procedures. In short, he has many reasons, he can’t do it, and he doesn’t do it.
It is hoped that these important tasks can be implemented so that we can carry out the protection work.
We don’t have any shit; but on the contrary, some companies have magically obtained dozens or hundreds of live pangolins from the forestry department. For example, The Guangxi Terrestrial Wildlife Rescue and Epidemic Disease Detection Center under the Department of Forestry of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region gave pangolins to a steel business department and to many other companies. In 2015 alone, eight administrative approval transportation permits were processed, and a total of 53 live pangolins were processed. In 2016, after 7 administrative approvals for transportation permits, the total number of available data reached 66 live pangolins.
And CBCGDF, go to the Department of Forestry of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to apply. As a first-level society, CBCGDF, as a national scientific research institution dedicated to biodiversity conservation for more than 30 years, applied for it but did not obtain any approval. CBCGDF applied for a little (pangolin) feces, but couldn’t get it, but they actually sent live pangolins to a steel business department many times. CBCGDF would like to ask them: What kind of assessment, what principle, what kind of policy, what kind of regulations, and why did you make such a decision?
CBCGDF reported to higher authorities that it has not received a reply from 2017 to the present. This is scientific research in the field of ecological civilization, in the field of ecological civilization protection, now faces a huge dilemma.
It is hoped that relevant departments will earnestly study the idea of ecological civilization and implement what kind of support. Scientific research is playing an increasingly important role in China, in ecological civilization, in reform, opening up, and progress. How can scientific research be advanced?
As I mentioned earlier, the only time we were approved was the rescue of pangolins in Guangdong Province. The result was very successful, with world-class discoveries. Unfortunately, we have only received approval this time.
In terms of scientific ethics, the Guangxi Academy of Forestry conducts research on the domestication and reproduction of pangolins all the year round. We know that a large number of pangolins die every year in so-called “rescue centers” and domestication and breeding bases. This is a serious violation of scientific ethics. But this matter has not been stopped to this day. If the Malayan pangolins confiscated by the customs cannot be released into the wild, then the return procedure (where to come from and where to go) should be initiated. But in 20 years, this program has never been started. In fact, CBCGDF research proves that Malayan pangolin is native to China and can also be released in the wild in China. CBCGDF was also filmed in the wild in China. CBCGDF actually made a plan to prove that it will not bring any risk of invasive species, but related approvals and related discussions have been conducted many times. Unfortunately, the result is the fate of these pangolins, dying day by day in those so-called “rescue centers”.
It is hoped that everyone will study the idea of ecological civilization, correct the mistakes in the work, and take a step forward in the ethics and approval of scientific research.
(This article is based on Dr. Zhou Jinfeng, the Secretary-General of CBCGDF’s dictation and has not been verified by him.)
Original Chinese article:
By / Zhang Daqian Modified / Maggie