Controversial Rhino Breeder John Hume Plans To Auction His Rhino Horn Collection Online This Wednesday

The highly-controversial online auction of rhino horns that was scheduled to begin yesterday has been postponed until later this week.

According to numerous reports and an update by auction house Vans Auctioneers, which is hosting the event, the disputed sale of more than 250 rhino horns has been delayed until Wednesday because South African wildlife rancher John Hume had not received his seller’s permit despite it having already been approved.

Hume, who is known for harvesting horns by tranquilizing the rhinos and dehorning them, a contentious technique he has claimed is used to keep potential poachers away, has amassed a substantial collection over the years at his Rhino Ranch in Klerksdorp, the world’s largest farm of its kind.

Animal advocates everywhere disagree, arguing that the legal sale of rhino horns in any scenario would only fuel poaching.

Though a statement on Friday indicated that The Minister of Environmental Affairs would oppose the application, late Sunday night, the High Court in Pretoria ruled that the much-debated auction would continue and the permit was subsequently delivered on Monday morning.

It has been speculated that South African authorities had initially attempted to ban the sale out of fear that the three-day auction would undermine the global ban on rhino trade that was established in 1977 and currently remains intact.

Unfathomably, the ban on the domestic rhino horn trade was overturned in April of 2017.

A new statement released yesterday revealed that the minister is now reportedly on record as supporting regulated and responsible trade as long as buyers and sellers meet strict conditions.

Perhaps most confusing at this point is the specification that Hume could sell the horns but only to people who have obtained buyers’ permits; yet none had been issued at the time despite the “overwhelming” interest from prospective purchasers.

Buyers are also mandated to keep the horns in the country after the sale. A hint of positive news since the increased demand for rhino horns is primarily in China and Vietnam where it is believed that the horns can cure diseases but there has been no real medicinal purpose proven scientifically.

“This sale of rhino horn is inexcusable,” said Dr. Joseph Okori, Director for Southern Africa of the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), a world expert on rhino conservation. “It is a sale based entirely on the greed of one man; plays into the hands of poachers and illegal wildlife traders; and ignores the fact that more than 7,000 rhinos have been brutally killed for their horns in less than 10 years, while countless brave rangers have also died trying to protect rhinoceros.”

“Legalizing sale of rhino horn will not reduce demand,” he continued. “As long as a legal market exists, criminals will attempt to launder horns to reap the profits. Currently, no system exists in South Africa or elsewhere in the world where sufficient checks and balances exist to prevent rhino horn from leaking onto the black market and stimulating illegal wildlife trade.”

In 2007, 13 rhinoceros were poached raising the number to 1,054 deaths in 2016. Sadly, the South African Department of Environmental Affairs (DEAT) in its July 2017 progress report on the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros claimed that 529 rhinoceroses had already been poached between January through June of this year.

As if all of this was not enough to try to digest, in addition to the pending online auction scheduled for this week, Hume is planning a physical auction in September as well.


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