Last week, Viet Nam News asked readers about whether they supported the destruction of illegal wildlife stockpiles or the sale to provide additional funding for the fight against the trade.
Here are some responses:
Kristjan Ingvarsson, Irish, Iceland
Some years ago, I heard about the idea of selling confiscated products to finance the efforts to eradicate their trade. In my opinion, that idea was bad.
Confiscated illegal natural products should all be destroyed, the simple reason being that it is impossible to trust government agencies to perform the task. The temptation for any officer to turn this into a lucrative, running business is simply beyond any government's control.
However, since there is a huge market for these products, I suggest that a study be conducted on the feasibility of cultivating animals, such as African elephants, Vietnamese rhinoceros, and tigers. Of course, this is difficult and expensive, but the revenue too is enormous.
Our ancestors domesticated horses, dogs, pigs, and several other animals without the technology we currently use. With the current scientific knowledge and ready availability of funds for lucrative projects, this should be very much feasible.
So let's get to work!
Robert Fries, Texas, USA
I support the destruction of illegal wildlife stockpiles. Selling them to provide funding for the fight against the trade seems illogical. Would the Government support the sale of heroin to fight the heroin trade? It reminds me of the narcissist "big game hunters" in Texas, US, who sold a licence to kill a rare black rhino in Africa in order to raise funds to fight the slaughter. Sheer idiocy!
Instead, the authorities should encourage public education campaigns to propagate the information about proven alternatives to tiger bone, rhino horn, and King Cobra wine, among several others.
Andrew Burden, Canadian, Ha Noi
The sooner these endangered animal parts are destroyed, the better. Every time this debate comes up, a decision is made and a "one time only" sale is approved, often by African dictators. Magnificent and intelligent wild animals, such as elephants and tigers are killed for ridiculous reasons.
No Chinese man needs to consume tiger penis to increase his ‘potency.' There are more tigers in private possession in America than there are in the wild. A tiger recently killed and devoured people in India because we keep encroaching on their habitat.
I feel a sense of despondency just thinking about the animals in a zoo. The sooner Viet Nam takes the lead and publicly destroys these animal parts, the higher its standing will be in the international community. Make it public. Build the biggest bonfire you can.
Name and shame and fine the perpetrators who are part of this crime syndicate against nature. I am one of the first people to say ‘put down' a dog that bites a human. Usually, sadly, it is the owner's fault for not training and supervising their domesticated pet.
I do not cry over dead chickens and fish that I eat on a daily basis, but I take no pleasure as an apex predator in the pointless killing and suffering of wild animals. Sooner or later in my lifetime, I will be relegated to watching wild animals only on National Geographic Channel. I believe that humans are the most savage species on the planet.
Jesse Pizarro Boga, Filipino, Ha Noi
I've read the article "Viet Nam in two minds about destroying wildlife contraband" on the local media. This is sad and a matter of grave concern. If they're able to properly execute a campaign using these seized wildlife products in museums, maybe then it can work as media education tools. To cite an example: "This is the tusk of the blah blah blah killed by greedy people."
It is pointless to burn the only remaining body part of an already dead and nearly extinct animal. But then again, declaring that these objects are of high value further spurs the same idea and people with vested interests will want to hunt them.
Tuan Hoang, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
I fully support the destruction of the stockpiles of illegal wildlife products. As a lawyer, I see the move as a proof of Viet Nam's strict legal system in the fight against wildlife poaching.
As regulated by the laws, illicit exhibits must be confiscated and destroyed. The destruction will also help educate and deter violators. The sale of rhino horns, elephant tusks, tiger bones, or tortoise shells seized from illegal trade might bring back some economic benefits, but I believe it will cause greater harm than good because the sale means legalising or acknowledging the illegal trade of wildlife products and wildlife poaching.
Though Viet Nam has a comprehensive legal system for preventing trade of wildlife products and has also joined international conventions in protecting and preserving wildlife, the implicit trade of the products still continues unabated. I think the reason for this grim situation is the Government's lax management. The task has been assigned to several agencies, including forest rangers, natural resources and environment departments, market watch, customs, and police. However, there is obviously a lack of cooperation and coordination among those agencies. It has been time and again proved by the media that cobras, pangolins, or even tigers are being illegally transported and traded throughout the country.
I think it is necessary to set up a police task force specialising in wildlife protection and conservation.
Rie Watanabe, Japanese, Ha Noi
The Government in Viet Nam should proactively destroy the seized wildlife products as soon as possible. I think this step will show the government's determination to fight the illegal trade of rhino horns, elephant tusks, tiger bones, and furs.
The 25 tonnes of elephant tusks and horns as well as bones of some other animals are reportedly being stockpiled at the moment. But, it will have far-reaching repercussions if the Vietnamese government does not adopt urgent measures to immediately stop the trade and hunting.
In a bid to stop people from killing wildlife, especially rhinos, elephants, and tigers, there must be a comprehensive education campaign for those who use these products. To be more specific, men, especially businessmen, should be made aware of the damage inflicted on the ecosystem by killing the animals over the benefits they are gaining by using these animal products. Detailed research should be conducted on whether the rhino horns really cure cancer or help men become stronger and whether using elephant tusks and tiger furs as decorative items truly boosts business .
When there is no demand, there will be no trade and no killing. — VNS