, for your measured response.
I honestly have no problem with people making money - good for them, etc. But it seems that either I have been unable to express my concerns or the pro-trade side does not wish to address my concerns.
As Rob explained so carefully in one of his posts above, the southern black & white rhino are not the only species of extant rhino. Since rhino horn consumers don't differentiate between one horned and two horned rhino, southern & northern rhino, black & white etc. what may lead to a good situation for your captive bred and farmed rhino in SA will almost certainly lead to a bad situation for wild rhino living in countries that don't have the same economic resources to protect their animals that rhino farmers have in SA.
I derive 2 things from rhino farmers & pro-traders in SA based on what they say and what they don't say:
1) that they have been very successful in increasing their captive rhino populations;
2) that it is neither their duty nor responsibility to help protect wild rhino in other countries from the profits generated by their farmed products in SA.
Peter above is one of the very few people I have read here who has actually flat out said that rhino farmers in SA are not liable to contribute towards the protection of wild rhinos elsewhere unless such a thing is written into some section of a trade agreement.
But if it is SA policy & lobbying & laws that will almost certainly determine the fate of rhinos in other countries (and this is the belief of the anti-trade people), then surely you must agree that these SA farmers are morally and ethically obliged to help species that may be wiped out completely as a result of their trade policies?
Or are your side saying that no, legalized trade in horn will actually decrease the risk to wild populations in Nepal & India, for example? On what basis can you say that? Please note that the economic models that make so much sense in a SA context are meaningless in other countries with entirely different sets of contexts.
Even though I don't wish to be cynical about this, it seems to me that SA rhino farmers will be very well pleased indeed to see the extinction of wild rhinos in other rhino range states as this is precisely what will give them complete monopoly over a very lucrative market. Perhaps that is why they are so silent on this point?
If this were not the case, and they were genuinely concerned about the fate of ALL rhino, and not just their breeding stock, then they would surely give at least some thought as to how their lobbying will affect these other species of rhino?
Which brings me to your other point - yes, this is clearly an economic decision from a sector of the economy that functions on the trade of wildlife and wildlife parts. If that is what SA wishes to do,, then it is SA's prerogative and we can't stop it. But:
1) some of us do not consider this to be conservation. Rather, we consider this to be cash crop farming (which is fine too - just don't want pro-traders to call an apple an orange);
2) when SA's actions have a direct impact on the fragile rhino populations of other countries, we also call this market manipulation, and feel that is incumbent on us to point out that in reality, SA is only looking to establish a market monopoly for its own product, and that SA's policies will likely lead to the extinction of all rhino save those that it farms.
I believe that if there really are conservationists among this group of farmers, they would be looking out for the welfare of more than just their own cash cows. If such is the case, I would be glad to hear from them/about them, but as long as the welfare of wild rhino in other countries generates no response from the pro-traders, some of us will continue to oppose legalization.