Rhino Breeder Plans To Sell Half A Ton Of Horn In First Ever "Legal Online Auction"

The sale will involve 500kg of horn, worth a potential $30 million. JONATHAN PLEDGER/Shutterstock

Josh Davis 27 Jun 2017, 17:46

The only problem here is that while the talk of “simple economics” sounds convincing, it is complete rubbish.

This method has already been trialed before, when large stockpiles of ivory were allowed to be sold legally after the 1989 international ban on trading the product came into force. But rather than crashing the market as was predicted, it stimulated demand for the product, gave a legal route to launder illegally sourced ivory, and led to an uptick in the killing of wild elephants.

Right now, we are in the midst of yet another poaching crisis for elephants, the likes of which we haven’t seen since the trade in ivory was made illegal, and many put the source of this firmly at the door of those legal international sales of stockpiled tusks.

So the idea that legally selling rhino horn will somehow kill the market is unfortunately not grounded in the evidence available. In reality, it could lead to more killings by giving some sort of legitimacy to the trade. The lobby argues that over the last three decades the ban has clearly not worked, but they fail to take into account that the nations where most horn is destined, mainly Vietnam, do not properly enforce the laws in the first place.

This sale is unlikely to do much to help that situation.

Many reserves will now dehorn their rhino to try and protect them. Snap2Art/Shutterstock
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