Seven good reasons to legalise rhino horn trade

My passion is breeding rhino. I don’t need the rhino horn trade legalised, but the rhino certainly does.

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I am convinced that unless the rhino horn trade is legalised, this magnificent animal will become extinct. Legal trade will:

1. Give the consumer the option of buying the product from a legal, ethical, controlled source:

  • There will be no need for rhino to be killed (legally or illegally) to provide the product.
  • Rhino will be worth more alive than dead.

2. Increase rhino numbers:

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  • Rhino will once again become desirable wildlife on game farms and reserves due to the financial benefits.
  • Legal trade will allow for the means to protect rhino on these farms and reserves.
  • New and emergent farmers will be encouraged to breed rhino.
  • If all these people are breeding rhino, the numbers will obviously increase.

3. Alleviate poverty:

  • At present, communities are turning to poaching as it is a lucrative prospect. For every poacher who gets arrested, there are 100 more people willing to take their place.
  • If communities were taught and encouraged to breed rhino for regular horn sales, poaching incidents would drop dramatically.
  • Community-based natural resource management is a successful working concept in many Third World and developing countries. It is time for South Africa to get on board.

4. Encourage biodiversity by creating habitat:

  • Habitat loss and encroachment are major global issues for biodiversity.
  • Rhino require a certain habitat to survive.
  • This habitat will encourage all rhino owners and communities to create this habitat, leading to healthier ecosystems.

5. Be an innovative and conservation-based solution to the rhino crisis:

  • Legal trade in rhino horn will satisfy the needs of consumers by supplying a sustainable, ethical product that contributes to biodiversity and habitat restoration, as well as preserving the rhino. This is the true nature of conservation.

6. Not threaten the rhino:

  • Rhino horn can be harvested sustainably – no rhino ever have to die to provide it and it continues to grow throughout the animal’s life.
  • Tiger bones, elephant tusks, shark fins and numerous other wildlife products require and represent the death of an animal whereas rhino horn does not.
  • People who own rhino will probably never want to kill their rhino, even in hunts, as live rhino will be worth more than dead ones. 

7. Allow us to keep rhino in Africa, where they belong:

  • Rhino offer an economic benefit to the country and its population.
  • Africa’s rhino to the north of us have been decimated, but in SA we still have a chance to convince the everyone that rhino are more valuable alive than dead.
  • Keeping rhino in Africa will give us tighter control over the trade, ensuring that it is monitored and audited and that rhino are bred under the best possible conditions.