Buy the Horns: How to Halt a Global Epidemic

Warning: Images below are of a graphic and violent nature.

It’s amazing the awareness that comes with living abroad. Just the mere change in geography opens up new channels of information, new avenues of knowledge and new levels of consciousness.

If we were not living in South Africa right now, we probably wouldn’t have as much comprehension or concern about an unfortunate health situation gripping China and Vietnam. According to reports, there are people in these countries currently experiencing headaches, and others blighted with pus-filled boils. Sometimes, the same person is afflicted by both.

With a combined population of over one billion, there’s no question that this is an acute and festering issue.

Rhino horn: Traditional Chinese Wonder Drug (courtesy

Fortunately, there is a cure.

Since the 16th century, practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine have claimed that headaches and boils – as well as snakebites, hallucinations, typhoid, vomiting, food poisoning, and “devil possession” – can be alleviated with rhinoceros horn.

Some even say dosages of ground rhino horn can dissolve phlegm.

Despite attempts by radicals to claim that rhino horn is basically the same composition as a human fingernail, and therefore holds no healing power, users know the truth: rhino horn is a wonder drug.

Since South Africa boasts rhinoceros as one of the “Big Five” – and now that South Africa and China have cozy relations – it only makes sense that South Africa serves as a net exporter of rhino horn to Chinese and Vietnamese markets.

In fact, there are already a significant number of Chinese and Southeast Asian “business men” working diligently to harvest rhino horn in South Africa.

It’s globalism epitomized.

In 2011, some 450 horns were exported from South Africa, primarily to Asian markets. That’s up from 333 in 2010.

Of course, harvesting the horns does typically result in death for the rhino itself. In rare cases, park rangers or wildlife conservation patrols do find dehorned rhinos bloodied but still clinging to life. However, experts agree that the killing or mutilation of the beasts is a small price to pay to relieve a Chinese woman from a gripping headache or shrink an oozing pimple on a Vietnamese man’s back.

A small price to pay to make a headache go away

Luckily for these folks, 2012 exports are already off to a strong start.

And, as there are still thousands of rhino roaming the plains and parks of South Africa, it seems that the trend line can only continue to go up.

I truly hope that the abundant natural resources of South Africa can continue to keep the good people of China and Vietnam free from headaches, zits and demonic possession for at least a few more years.

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