Rhino Horn Sale Angers B.C. Animal Defence Group

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A black dehorned rhinoceros walks on August 3, 2012 at the Bona Bona Game Reseve, 200 kms southeast of Johannesburg. South Africa has seen a devastating increase in poaching in recent years as black-market demand for rhino horn has grown. Last year poachers killed 448 rhinos, up from 333 in 2010 and just 13 in 2007. Heightened security measures have failed to stop the criminal syndicates that officials say are responsible for the killing. The animals' distinctive horns are hacked off to be smugg | Getty Images

The sale of a rhinoceros horn at an auction in Victoria has raised the ire of one animal rights' group.

It is illegal to sell rhino horns taken after 1975, but the horn sold last night for $14,000 at Lunds auction house is believed to be legal, according to manager Peter Boyle.

“If we felt if there would be a problem with this thing, we wouldn't get involved. But we don't see a problem at all,” Boyle said.

But Marley Daviduk, a campaigner with the Vancouver Animal Defence League, said the age of the horn should not make a difference.

“I think it's glorifying an industry that's causing the extinction of species overseas,” Daviduk said. “It's time to make this connection to what's happening in Africa and have a no-tolerance policy for the trade in any kind of animal parts that's contributing to endangered species.”

Daviduk said his organization is calling on the federal government to legislate a ban on sales of all rhino horns.

Boyle said he accepted the word of the seller as proof of the age of the 37-centimetre-long horn and added that the auction house is not responsible for verifying the item’s origin.

Rhino horns are prized in some Asian countries for their unproven healing properties and also as ritual and decorative objects.

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