South African judge rejects ban on rhino horn trade
JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A South African judge has struck down a government ban on the domestic trade in the horns of rhinos, alarming some conservationists who say the decision could intensify the slaughter of the threatened species.
Judge Francis Legodi delivered the ruling on Thursday, saying the government had failed to properly consult the public before imposing the moratorium in 2009. Legodi also questions the effectiveness of the moratorium in a 39-page judgment and notes that rhino poaching surged to record levels after it was imposed.
The South African government did not immediately comment on whether it would appeal the ruling.
Rhino breeders and game reserve owners took the South African government to court to try to overturn the ban on the domestic trade of rhino horn.