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On the judicial annulment of the ‘domestic’ trade moratorium in South African rhinoceros horn: a law and economics perspective

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The legalization of rhino horn ‘domestic’ trade in South Africa potentially unleashes market forces featuring new entry, new tastes and new rhino horn products. This risks escalating the rhino-poaching crisis further. It is argued that institutional contradictions have been engendered by the South African High Court ruling in Kruger and another v Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs and others [2015] JOL 34725, whose assumptions are shown to be highly restrictive and seemingly poorly informed about the true nature of demand for rhino horn and the dynamics of poaching. The shortcoming in the legal decision-making pertains to not taking account of the absence of any evidence for the existence of domestic demand for rhino horns in South Africa. The key arguments presented herein align with support for the reinstitution of the rhino horn trade moratorium, as well as administrative measures implemented effectively to contain the poaching crisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-372
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Law and Economics
Issue number3
Early online date10 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2020


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