World Rhino Day 2022: TM Practitioners warned prescribing endangered species is a crime
Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 22 September 2022 - This World Rhino Day, TRAFFIC launches a new video to reduce the demand for rhino horn use in Traditional Medicine (TM) in Viet Nam. The video calls for TM practitioners to stop prescribing unsafe, unsustainable, and illegal wildlife products like rhino horn to their patients.
Rhinos have been poached for well over a decade in Africa to satisfy the consumer demand for their horn in Asia, particularly in China and Vietnam, due to thousand-year-old perceptions that rhino horns can cure all diseases.
Today, TRAFFIC in Viet Nam is releasing a video to remind young and experienced practitioners from the TM sector that prescribing rhino horn and other endangered species products for medical purposes is a crime, ineffective treatment, and harmful to the planet.
DEMAND REDUCTION WORK
Since 2020, TRAFFIC in Viet Nam has worked together with numerous health education and communications experts to successfully implement various demand reduction activities, ensure consumed wildlife is sustainably sourced, and change the social norms around the consumption of threatened wildlife.
From this experience, the video was created to stop the prescription and usage of rhino horn and other endangered species products in the practice of TM by integrating messages highlighting social reputation risks for TM practitioners and the lack of scientific evidence on the medical functions and effectiveness of the products.
“TM practitioners are essential drivers in combating illegal wildlife trade within the industry. By working hand in hand with associations of traditional medicine in Viet Nam, TRAFFIC helps to reduce the demand for wildlife products in the practice and ensure it is not detrimental to species or habitats,” says Ms. Nguyen Tuyet Trinh, TRAFFIC Viet Nam Office Director
CALL FOR USING SUSTAINABLE ALTERNATIVES
In the video, TM practitioners are also encouraged to use medicinal alternatives to the use of products from endangered species, such as rhinos. According to scientists, with more than 4,000 plant species, Vietnam is a prosperous source of medicinal herbs. It is also a source of raw materials for the research and extraction of active ingredients for health care needs.
These alternatives can help protect against disease in a natural way while being sustainable for the planet, legal for practitioners, and safe and affordable for patients.
The video will be shown to TM doctors and students during future lectures or events organised by Vietnamese TM universities and colleges.
The video is part of the initiative to reduce the use of rhino horn as a medicinal remedy funded by WWF Germany. Such effort is crucial in contributing to sustaining the population of rhinos and other endangered species and the balance of the whole ecosystem.