POLL: Should the sale of rhino horns be legalized?

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A top court in South Africa just made it legal to trade in rhino horns within the country.

The South African government, in 2009, imposed a moratorium that banned domestic trade in rhino horns. But after years of legal battle between commercial rhino breeders and the government’s Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the constitutional court has now issued an order rejecting the government’s appeal to retain the national ban on the trade in rhino horns. The international trade in rhino horns still remains banned.

Commercial rhino breeders have welcomed the decision, arguing that an open, legal trade in rhino horns will end the of rhinos and will help pay for their protection.

“This judgment is a victory for the concept of sustainable use of natural resources to the benefit of the conservation of rhino as a species, as well as to the benefit of the people protecting such species,” the Private Rhino Owners Association, one of the respondents in the case, said in a statement.

However, several conservationists argue that there is no domestic market for rhino horns within South Africa and that a legal domestic trade would only worsen rhino poaching in the country.

A southern in South Africa. The country is the last remaining stronghold of rhinoceroses, but is facing an unprecedented poaching crisis. Photo by .

“Legal trade in is not the way to stop rhino poaching,” Susie Watts of WildAid’s Africa Program, said in a statement. “All it does is stimulate demand and provide a cover for . Legalizing trade in ivory, for example, did not saturate the market, but encouraged consumption. Elephant poaching skyrocketed as a result.”

“There is no domestic demand for rhino horn products and, as the pro-trade lobby very well knows, the reason why the moratorium was implemented in the first place was to prevent domestic trade from being used as a cover for smuggling,” Watts added.


South Africa, home to 70 percent of the world’s 29,500 rhinos, is currently reeling from a poaching crisis. In 2016, an estimated 1,054 rhinos were poached, while 1,175 rhinos were killed in 2015, and another 1,000 were poached in 2014. In February this year, armed broke into a rhino orphanage, took the staff hostage and killed two rhinos.

The biggest markets for rhino horns — made of the same material as fingernails and hair — occur in Vietnam and China, where they’re primarily used in as cures for anything ranging from hangovers tocancer.

“Whilst we are studying the implications of the order handed down by the Constitutional Court, it should be noted that the court’s decision should not be construed to mean that the domestic trade in rhino horn may take place in an unregulated fashion,” Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said in a statement.

Molewa added that all domestic trade in rhino horn would besubject to “obtaining the relevant permits and to applicable provincial legislation being obtained.”

This article by was first published by on 06 Apr 2017.

We invite you to share your opinion whether the sale of rhino horns should be legalized? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page.

Should the sale of rhino horns be legalized?

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Editorial Comment: The purpose of this poll is to highlight important wildlife conservation issues and to encourage discussion on ways to stop . By leaving a comment and sharing this post you can help to raise awareness. Thank you for your support.


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Trevor Oertel
Trevor Oertel

Their numbers increased dramatically from 430 odd White Rhino in South Africa in the 1960s to over 20000 when private ownership and trophy hunting was allowed.

I would far rather entrust the future of Africa’s Rhino to wildlife managers such as the late Dr. Ian Player than fund raising animal rightist who exploit animals “endangered” status to raise funds to help “save” endangered species while lining their own pockets.


Linda Badham
Linda Badham


Lynne McNulty

My question would be what for? To sell to the far east because it is thought to have medicinal properties…? This would help to perpetuate this myth surely and not stop poaching, Many are banking on extinction so that their captive bred rhino become more valuable.

Diane Rose Wolf Luke


Kalyan Bhattacharyya


Terezia Ildiko Fogarasi

no way!!!!!

Lakehouse Lakehouse

NO way …

Joyce Quiroga

No not at all

Trina Fenning


Anne Grice

NO NO NO! There is nothing left to sell!

Anne Grice

UnbeLievable that any country would think of wanting to legalise the sale of an item which has almost disappeared! It reflects just how oblivious to reality they are to even think of this! Unrealistic irratioanal short sightedness!

Amelia Diaz

NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!

Cheryl Osborn


Hanne Jensen


Noelle Connor


Keita Colton


Irene Suarez

Hell no

Sandra Richards

Absolutely Not…that’s senseless murder

Leigh Lofgren

what an utterly idiotic question? They are almost extinct and you ask if it shoudl be legal??????? Why not make it a felong with a minimum 25yrs if caught with horn, tusk, tiger parts or whatever other animal part these creeps kill for – and the same for the poachers and those that kill? Who are these idiots even asking or suggesting such stupidity? This has utterly infuriated me.

Focusing On Wildlife

A top court in South Africa just made it legal to trade in rhino horns within the country. Hence this POLL to give our readers the opportunity to express their opinion!

Patricia Mazzoni

Absolutely not!

Valerie Wolf

No !

Lindsay Leclair


Kim DeFreese

Stupid question…of course not!

Milagros Drouyn
Milagros Drouyn


Ioana Pantelimon


Sandie Colpetzer


Andrei Hanches

Neither the horn from wild nor captive rhino individuals should be legally or illegally traded.Rhinoceros populations,are steadily decreasing.Rapidly vanishing,across the surface of the planet,we might lose them forever..Every single one must be protected and left alone,for the well being of the species.We can not afford to play with the future of rhinos..

Jennifer E. Fildes
Jennifer E. Fildes

NO….leave them all alone….educate dumb people on the stupidity and senselessness of it all..

Philip C. Flores

Only if they come from domestically bred Rhinos. Leave the wild ones alone.

Rose Siwek

Why not dehorn all the rhino and spend money on educating people that it is as much use as eating their own toe nails maybe ..