The Rhinoceros Horn Trade: Considering Legalization (Simplified Chinese Version)
(9 pages of text)
The international demand for rhinoceros (rhino) horns was driving the species to near extinction. But an international ban on trading the horns made it lucrative to illegally kill rhinos for their horns, which were traded on the black market. One hotly debated idea to curb rhino poaching was to legalize the trade of farmed rhino horns, which could be sustainably obtained without killing the animal.
The founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of a non-governmental organization (NGO), Helping Rhinos, opposed legalizing the trade of rhino horns, as had other NGOs. He wondered, though, whether he and his organization should reconsider that position. Legalizing the sale of sustainable rhino horns could counter the black-market demand and protect the remaining, endangered rhinos. At the next board meeting, the founder and CEO needed to recommend whether the organization should continue to oppose legalization or change its approach and advocate for multi-nation legalization. But first he needed to consider the perspectives of the various stakeholders and which decision would be in the best interest of the rhinos. How should he and the NGO proceed?
The case is suitable for undergraduate and graduate courses in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, or negotiations. Upon completion of the case, students will be able to do the following:
- Describe the complexity of trade in endangered animals from the perspectives of impacted stakeholders.
- Understand the factors driving market demand for an illegal substance.
- Evaluate the roles of various stakeholders in the rhino horn trade and their proposed or implemented solutions.
- Analyze the merits of legalizing an illegal activity as a possible solution to the ethical dilemma.
- Recommend to an NGO whether to adopt a position for or against legalizing the rhino horn trade in its efforts to conserve rhinos.
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
South Africa, Small, 2018
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