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What’s So Wrong With Legalising Rhino Horn Trade?

19 January 2013, 19:41

I’ve been for the legalisation of rhino horn trade for a while now. In my mind it would lessen poaching (which often leads to the rhino dying of blood loss) and give nature reserves more money, which they could also use to further prevent rhino poaching. Rhino horns do regrow and cutting off most of a rhino’s horn does not affect the rhino if it is done correctly.

I read an article the other day that was against legalising horn trade. It tried to point out the flaws in a different article but I don’t think it has a valid point and here are my reasons why:

The first point raised is that making rhino horn trade legal could lead to more poaching. The theory here is that when rhino horn trade becomes legal, more people would be attracted to buying horns. The legal selling of horns would be regulated and so there would be a need for poaching to supply for the extra demand. 

However, this does not make sense as the trading of poached horns would still be illegal and so demand for illegal horns would not increase any more than it would have without the legalisation of rhino horn trade.

The article also claims that legalising rhino horn trade would not stop poaching because of the ever-increasing demand leading to high prices.

This is true but legalising rhino horn trade would lessen the amount of poaching and would also provide money that can be used to help to find and stop poachers.

Legalising rhino horn trade would be beneficial for the rhinos (their only disadvantage is that they don’t have as much ability to protect themselves while their horn is growing, but at least they are not dying from blood loss), the prevention of poaching and the economy. 

It is possible that legalising rhino horn trade does not help as much as we hope it will but it can only make the current situation better.

Obviously it is not ideal, but until we can convince the eastern countries that rhino horns have no medical value, it is our best way of slowing the number of rhino’s that are killed by poachers.

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