SOUTH AFRICA HAS BEEN PROPOSING FOR HORN TRADE SINCE 1981.THEIR STUBBORN REFUSAL TO APPLY THE BAN ON RHINOS AND THEIR BY-PRODUCTS IS LEADING TO THE EXTINCTION OF THE FAMILY RHINOCERIDAE WORLDWIDE.
As citizens of the United Kingdom we hereby petition our Government, as represented by the Minister concerned with Environmental Affairs and the CITES Management and Scientific Authorities, in the following matter:
It has come to our attention that one of the Parties to CITES, namely South Africa, has recently officially announced their government’s intention to authorize commercial farming of rhinoceros and the sale of farmed rhino horn through auctions or other mechanisms.
In order to implement this the South African Cabinet has authorised their Department of Environmental Affairs to prepare a proposal for the lifting of the trade ban in rhino horn for CITES CoP 17, scheduled to take place in South Africa in 2016.
WE HEREBY PETITION YOU TO REJECT THE PROPOSAL TO FARM RHINOS AND TRADE IN RHINO HORN FOR THE FOLLOWING REASONS:
1. In the Rhino Issue Manager (RIM) Report it states that “Most regions of the world have indigenous medicinal systems to which people subscribe regardless of science and as the reaction of China to Western comments on the validity of its traditional medicine has shown, it can be seen as highly offensive to suggest that western medicine is somehow superior to indigenous medicine.”
We believe that the world’s various and different cultures have a right to practice and enjoy their indigenous rituals and beliefs on condition that no other being (human or animal) or the environment is adversely affected by such beliefs. There is no hiding the fact that rhino horn has been scientifically proven to be of no medicinal worth and it is morally reprehensible to sell it knowing that it will be used to defraud the end user.
Rhino horn can only be harvested by either killing the animal or pursuing it and darting it with harsh immobilising drugs and using a chain-saw to remove the horn. Dehorning is therefore both an invasive and life-threatening procedure and it has proven not to be a deterrent against poaching because the base is the heaviest and most sought after part of the horn.Dehorning is done so that farmers can stockpile horn, despite the fact that trade in horn is illegal and has been for over 35 years.
2. The RIM Report asserts “Live rhino sales of surplus rhino to approved destinations generated approximately ZAR 236 million for the period 2008 to 2011 (Milliken & Shaw,2012). This represents an important source of conservation revenue for the various conservation agencies charged with maintaining biodiversity and protecting species in South Africa.”
The truth of the matter is that most of the rhinos sold during the period mentioned above (2008 to 2011) are no longer alive because they were sold NOT to destinations that we would call “approved” but to hunting farms where they were illegally killed in “pseudo hunts” by Thai prostitutes and others.
The South African government and some private rhino owners have declared their intent to commercialise rhinos.
VOTE NO TO THE PROPOSAL TO TRADE RHINO HORN.
Rhinos are an iconic, wild species and should be allowed to run wild, free and be protected. The South African Government has not applied all its available resources to the full extent needed to solve the poaching problem. In fact the Department of Environment admits that trade in horn will not end poaching. We agree and would go further and suggest that it will stimulate the market.
3. The RIM Report asserts that the two bans on trade in rhinos and rhino by-products, a worldwide one in 1975 and a local ban in South Africa in 2008, have failed.
There is proof that after South Africa ratified CITES in 1976, rhino horn by-products including horn continued to move from South Africa through the Independent Bantustan Homelands and also through neighbouring countries that hadn’t yet ratified CITES.The ban on rhino products is a myth because it has never been applied. (Dr. E. Bradley-Martin 1982.)
Rhino horn poaching is driven by international, organised crime syndicates.Instead of pandering to them, every effort should be made to preserve the last significant population of wild rhinos in the world.
Rhino horn is a bogus “snake oil” product and it is unethical to sell it knowing that the primary use of the product is to cure diseases, some as serious as cancer.
WE, THE CITIZENS OF THE UNITED KINGDOM WANT OUR GOVERNMENT TO VOTE “NO” ON SOUTH AFRICA’S PROPOSAL TO TRADE RHINO HORN AND SUPPORT THE CALL FOR THE WHITE RHINO OF SOUTH AFRICA AND SWAZILAND TO BE UPLIFTED TO APPENDIX ONE!
Caroline Mason RHINO S.O.S. South Africa/Wild & Free SA