The current situation in Southern Africa as well as the fact that organised crime operators have been active across the European Union to acquire and trade rhino horns, caused the European Commission today (14 March 2012) to announce further restrictions on the export of rhino horn across the European Union. According to the "Guidance document on export and re-export of rhinoceros horns" (pdf) nearly all future applications for the export of rhino horn will be refused and licenses will only be granted if buyers and sellers meet stringent criteria.
From 14 March 2012, all applications to re-export products made from rhino horn will no longer be granted unless they meet at least one of the following criteria:
- The item is part of a genuine exchange between reputable institutions (i.e. museums);
- The item is an heirloom moving as part of a family relocation; or
- The item is part of a bone fide research project.
Additional requirements apply in relation to (re-)export to China: applications for export or re-export permits for rhino horns to China should be refused given that the domestic legislation in China prohibits import and internal trade of rhino horns.
A first step in to the right direction! Thank you, EU!