Legal horn trade 'disaster'
THE legal trading of rhino horn will cause even more activity in the black market, animal activists said yesterday.
"Whenever you have a market in which only certain people can buy and sell, you will encourage black market activity," said Outraged SA Citizens Against Poaching director Allison Thomson.
She was responding to the notion of legalising rhino horn trading to curb poaching.
"The models put forward for trade are based on economically flawed assumptions."
Thomson said that, by opening up trade, demand would exceed supply and the price would not be reduced.
Because rhino horns are rare, the poaching would increase, she said, adding that South Africa's trading partners would not contribute to conservation efforts.
"Trading partners in the illegal trade at the moment [are] China and Vietnam ... it is clear that we would be getting into bed with partners that have no wildlife trade management tools in place," she said.
"It would spell disaster for our rhino."
Last month, the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs said it would explore the possibility of introducing legal trading in rhino horn.
Minister Edna Molewa said then thatthe department was preparing for the congress of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, in March.