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Does a new law prohibit elephant breeding?

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The legal provision that breeding elephants could be subject to court proceedings has raised controversy.

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Hoang Thi Minh Huong, Deputy Judge of the Lam Dong People's Court


The Judges Council of the Supreme People's Court, with Change and WildlifeAid, recently organized a workshop about its draft resolution that guides the implementation of several Penal Code provisions on wildlife related crimes.

The draft resolution stipulates that from January 1, 2018, persons who illegally store wild animals or parts of their bodies, or products of wild, endangered, rare and precious animals (such as ivory) will be examined for penal liability as defined in Article 234 and Article 244 of the 2015 Penal Code.

Hoang Thi Minh Huong, Deputy Judge of the Lam Dong provincial People's Court, said there are many forests in this locality, including the Cat Tien National Park. However, in the last four years, the provincial court has only tried two cases related to breeding in captivity and storing of animal organs.

Huong said a local man, for example, went to the forest and caught a monkey. He intended to bring the monkey home to make bone glue. A farmer, however, saw it, decided to buy the monkey and feed it. He raised the monkey in good condition.

One day, a forest ranger discovered the monkey in the farmer’s house, and seized the monkey. When the farmer went to the forest ranger unit to claim the monkey back, he was told that it was a douc langur, listed as a rare and precious animal, put under special control. 

The farmer was sentenced to jail by a court of first instance. However, the Lam Dong Provincial People's Court later changed the judgment made by the court of first instance, giving him a suspended sentence.

In this case, the court of first instance issued a judgment. If the farmer had not bought the douc, it would have been killed to make bone glue. The farmer did not know it was a rare and precious animal put under special control.

Commenting about the case, a representative of the Dak Lak provincial Forest Rangers’ Unit, said the best solution is to persuade the farmer to transfer the douc langur to the Cuc Phuong National Park.

Huong said that if the resolution cannot be designed properly, shops and people who own elephant tusks will be subject to legal proceedings. 

At present, there is a pair of tusks on display at Bao Dai King Palace and another pair at the Lam Dong provincial People’s Committee office. Many households in the Central Highlands now breed elephants and own elephant tusks.


Source: Thien Nhien - VietNamNet

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