The British Antique Dealers’ Association (BADA) is calling on the government to toughen legislation controlling the UK trade in rhino horn.
BADA CEO Marco Forgione explains: “Our proposal is that all objects made from, or containing rhino horn, must be approved for sale by an independent expert.
“This expert must certify that the object is pre-1947, is an object of historic, cultural or artistic value and that the rhino horn element has a value in excess of $100 per gram, significantly higher than the market value of rhino horn as a commodity.
“For the sake of the fast-declining rhino populations, we have to take action to ensure that the UK cannot be used by international criminal gangs involved in poaching rhino and perpetuating the use of rhino horn for quack medicinal purposes.”
The call to action from BADA comes as London hosts the Illegal Trade in Wildlife Conference this week.
With Rhinoceros populations under increasing threat from poachers, coupled with an escalating demand from South East Asia’s illegal wildlife markets, BADA is urging Michael Gove, Secretary of State at DEFRA to take decisive action.
Current UK Rhino horn regulations permit trade in low value trinkets and objects without the need for registration or certification. BADA fears this could lead to low value items being purchased solely for their rhino horn content, illicitly exported and ground down to perpetuate the global demand.
BADA said it believes that the introduction of a comprehensive licensing scheme would prevent the trade in low value items, whilst allowing the sale of genuine historic works of art.