A court in South Africa has recently ended the ban on the trade and sale of rhinoceros horns. The lifting of the ban resulted in celebration by private rhinoceros breeders and disapproval by animal preservationists. It is controversial whether or not the legalization of horn trade will increase or decrease the illegal poaching scene.
The private rhinoceros breeders’ main arguments for the end of the ban are that unlike elephant tusks, rhinoceros horns have the potential to grow back on it’s own and that if trade of horn is legal, it could stop poachers from illegally killing the animals in order to illegally sell the horns. Animal preservationists argue against the lift of the ban in saying that it could increase the poaching of rhinoceroses because it will only take away one of the barriers for the illegal acts.
Lifting the ban is wrong because of the intentions and that it is not resulting in enough of a net balance of maximum goodness. When considering intentions, the clear purpose for lifting the ban is for gaining more profit as rhinoceros breeders. By lifting the ban in South Africa, international trade will still be illegal because the ban still stands in the United Nations, making the lift of the ban even more unnecessary. Even if taking away the ban reduced poaching of the animals, if their intentions are to make profit then the good-doing isn’t good and there is no integrity. When considering utilitarianism, there needs to be maximum benefit for the greatest number. Chairman of the Private Rhinoceros Breeders Association stated that the association believes it is a right we have been entitled to.” No person should be ‘entitled to’ hurt a living being if they are not intending to respect it. There should be more research done on if lifting or not lifting the ban would create a difference in poaching to determine which decision promotes the greatest net good, but even then, the animals should be considered as well.