As the rhino poaching crisis, hits new troughs, some snake oil salesmen from South Africa want to enrich themselves by selling ‘snake oil’ to the Vietnamese. In this case, the snake oil comes in the form of rhino horn, which some rhino farmers in South Africa want to sell legally to Vietnamese businessmen who will sell it in Vietnam as a cure all for cancer.
Aside from the rights and wrongs for the rhinos of making them into a commodity, the ethics of selling, at vast expense, rhino horn, which is made of keratin, the same as your hair and mine, to ignorant and misguided people who believe it will cure them of cancer and various other ills, is as disgusting as any peddling fake drugs to any gullible member any public.
Also disturbing in this piece is that speakers at a South African government-hosted event said that private rhino owners supported legalised trade in rhino horn. For sham medicine?
Philip Mansbridge, CEO of Care for the Wild International, said the argument that legalizing horn will be a good move is flawed, and extremely concerning.
“The danger is that legalising horn will feed the growth of the market rather than reduce the demand on poaching. This experiment has been done with previous authorised sales of stockpiled ivory to China and Japan. They did not work – demand rose, poaching rose and the price of ivory rose,” he said.
Many experts suggest that the rhinos must be protected, not harvested. The real source of the problem, the demand in Asia, and the money it generates for rhino owners and poachers, is what must cease. Animal protection groups note that governments need to stamp out the trade which includes promoting the views from medical experts that there is zero medicinal value for rhino horn.