Born Free USA Blog
by Will Travers,
Chief Executive Officer
What can you say about a big-hearted bloke who has rescued dolphins, tigers, elephants and more and whose parents once helped a lion cub from a department store by caring for him in their backyard and engineering his rightful return to Africa? You can safely say that he's got great animal instincts! In 1984, Will Travers joined his parents — "Born Free" film stars Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers — to form what became The Born Free Foundation. With knowledge, passion and compassion dripping from his every word, Will's blogs are sure to make you embrace our crusade to Keep Wildlife in the Wild ®.
News reports out of South Africa with respect to the rhinoceros crisis are alarming, with more than 290 animals already poached so far in 2013 — annualized that will be more than 800 by year end — and even dehorned rhinos are being slaughtered.
As chief executive officer of Born Free USA and the Born Free Foundation I attended the recent CITES Conference in Bangkok, Thailand. In front of more than 100 people I personally asked the South African minister responsible for wildlife, the president of the Private Rhino Owners Association, the president of the Professional Hunters Association, an eminent South African economist and the South African ambassador to Thailand, all of whom were there promoting the idea of legalising rhino horn trade, to raise their hands if they believed that rhino horn was effective in medicinal use. Not one of them moved a muscle.
Yet they would be willing to sell rhino horn to folks in the Far East, knowing full-well it doesn’t work, exploiting the ignorance of people who mistakenly believe it will cure their mother/father/sister/brother of cancer.
Unethical? Unacceptable? Downright disgraceful? Too right!
In my view, legalizing rhino horn trade will legitimise the use of a substance that absolutely does not work, makes a handful of private rhino owners very rich, provides a legal cover for illegal trade, further jeopardizes the security of all Africa’s rhinos, and allows the poachers, and the organized criminal gangs who back them, to — quite literally — carry on making a killing.
What do you think?