By Michael Appel
Locally, the call to legalise rhino horn to combat its illicit trade on the black market has been growing over the last few years, but an international NGO is disputing the logic behind such calls.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said recently in a statement entitled, Greed beats logic: Why a legal rhino trade won’t work, that first and foremost, if trade in rhino horn is legalised, “…it would effectively be legitimising a huge transnational crime, rewarding the kingpins and middle men for their persistence in outlasting the forces of law and order.”
Prominent conservationist Ian Player has for a number of years now been asking the government to lobby the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) to legalise sale in rhino horn. South Africa’s horn stock piles could then be told, the proceeds of which could then go towards greater protection of the rhino specie that would now have a commoditised price. This, believes Player, will effectively flood the black market and drive down the price, taking power out of the hands of the syndicates and creating one centrally controlled point of sale of rhino horn.
Paul Newman, communications officer for the EIA argues that, “South Africa is a long way from exhausting all its options in fighting the rhino wars – and throwing in the towel to cash-in on the desperation and ignorance of the Vietnamese should never have been on the table in the first place.”
The EIA believes that legalising rhino horn would be tantamount to telling the Vietnamese what so many of them want to hear due to a lack of medical options. “Yes, you can now legally purchase and take rhino horn for your cancer or other ailment,” said Newman. More....