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The Price of Hope – Insights into Rhino Horn Consumption in Health-related Contexts in Vietnam

Research is forthcoming in the Journal of Consumer Affairs, the presented PDF file is a Non-technical summary:

The Price of Hope – Insights into Rhino Horn Consumption in Health-related Contexts in Vietnam (pdf) 

Our study shows that consumers use rhino horn’s scarcity and price as proof of its medicinal properties. One possible, albeit provocative, way to impair this association is perhaps to make rhino horn more available to lower its price. This is a risky proposal, but instead of incinerating all confiscated rhino horns, the Vietnamese government might want to consider selling certified rhino horn at an extremely low price through a national registry that limits the amount available for purchase per each registrant. By selling confiscated rhino horns to the public at a very low price, the government would not only make them less scarce but also puncture the rhino horn’s magical bubble, making it less desirable. Poachers and traders might become less motivated to smuggle rhino horn into Vietnam, sellers of illegally traded rhino horn would not be able to sustainably compete with the extremely low price and abundant supply offered by the government, whose stockpile of confiscated rhino horns probably far outweighs what is available on the black market. We also recommend that the Vietnamese government consider legislating and implementing harsher punitive measures for rhino horn traders and consumers as well as health practitioners or healers who recommend it.