Target: Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment
Goal: Initiate an effort to educate the Vietnamese of both the false benefits and environmentally damaging effects of Rhino horn consumption
This year is on its way to being the worst for poaching yet, as South Africa’s Department of Environmental Affairs reported that 339 rhino have been killed illegally in the country since the start of 2012. Despite the 192 poaching-related arrests this year, there seems to be no real end to the crisis surrounding rhinos.
As of late, the world’s largest consumers have become the Vietnamese upper-class who see the consumption of ground-up rhino horns in all manner of beverages. As noted by many, this consumption has no medicinal value, nor does it serve as a high-inducing drug. As such, clearly it is being used mostly as a status-symbol.
Despite the recently growing anti-rhino horn cooperation between Vietnamese and South African governments, and the approaching possibility of a memorandum signing on the parameters of such cooperation, not enough is being done if they attempt to merely halt illegal trade. Proposed is an effort which is aimed not at those involved in the black market trade and supply itself, but rather those who this supply is aimed at — that is to say, the upper-class civilian consumers of Vietnam. By initiating a government campaign through mainstream channels which emphasizes the invalidity of claims that rhino horns have any beneficial effect whatsoever, it is possible that demand can begin to be reduced. Likewise, there should be strict enforcement of laws which punish those in possession of rhino horn. As the Vietnamese upper-class currently value it more than cocaine, the repercussions of possession should be in-keeping with that value.
Such an effort should begin in Vietnam precisely because of the recent rise in Vietnam’s rich, and the popularity that rhino horn consumption is seeing there.
Dear Vietnamese Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment,
Within the past year, a large part of the increase in rhino poaching and demand for rhino horns has been spurred on by the newly rich of Vietnam, who both mistakenly consume it as a drug, for medical benefit or merely as a symbol of status. This gross misconception must end now, as the recreational circumstances under which Vietnamese consume horns is destroying the rhino population.
We ask that your ministry initiates an effort which educates Vietnamese in the falsities of rhino horn consumption benefits so that demand can decrease. Additionally, a firm crack-down on the possession of rhino horns should be employed.
The world’s population of rhinos has been previously brought back from the brink of extinction, and is now quickly falling back to that brink. Please do not let this happen as the result of a belief in the superfluous and pointless consumption of a precious species for “recreation”.
[Your Name Here]