The consumption of endangered wildlife in China: How can I trust my food?

Rebecca W.Y. Wong

Department of Applied Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong

Why would a consumer trust that his/her supplier would honour their agreement in illegal transactions? What mechanisms do consumers rely on to enhance the credibility of their agreements? In this paper, these questions are examined in the light of illegal transactions of protected wildlife in China for consumption as a delicacy. Based on interviews with actors involved in this illegal market and open sources, this paper shows that consumers rely on the supplier’s reputation to access protected wildlife, along with their reputation of having the culinary skills necessary to cook the wildlife in order to enhance the credibility of their agreements.


Rebecca W.Y. Wong was awarded a D.Phil in Sociology from the Department of Sociology, University of Oxford in 2013.  Her doctorate thesis was on the organization and operation of the illegal trade of tiger parts in Mainland China. Her research interests are green criminology, crimes against wildlife and enforcement of crimes against the environment.


The society is devoted to promoting criminological study, research and practice in the region and bringing together persons engaged in all aspects of the field. The membership of the society reflects the diversity of persons involved in the field, including practitioners, academics, policy makers and students.

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