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Beckham makes stand against rhino horn

June 21, 2014
David Beckham launches the #WhoseSideAreYouOn campaign against the trade and consumption of endangered wild animal parts. Photo from United for Wildlife Facebook page.

David Beckham launches the #WhoseSideAreYouOn campaign against the trade and consumption of endangered wild animal parts. Photo from United for Wildlife Facebook page. Photo originated from PredatorConservation @BPCTcamp

By Mic Smith

Ask any Vietnamese and they’ll say one of the biggest international stars of football is David Beckham.

So when Beckham the former Manchester United football player launches a campaign against the buying of rhino horn (sung te giac) and ivory, there’s a pretty good chance that people will switch on to what he is saying

Beckham, who debuted with Manchester United in 1992 and played for England in three FIFA World Cups, teamed last week with England’s Duke of Cambridge, Prince William, to put pressure on consumers of illegal wildlife products.

People who are buying or using the parts of endangered animals like rhinos and elephants need to consider what they are doing more closely, he said.

“Are we on the side of the criminals or are we on the side of the animals?” Beckham said.

“It really is devastating and we are in a world where our generation and the younger generation really can make a difference and we need to do it now,” he said.

The “United for Wildlife” campaign led by the legendary footballer Beckham and Prince William aims to bring the trade in wild animal parts like rhino horn out in the open and show the world what is happening.

The campaign slogan #WhoseSideAreYouOn invites people to side with Beckham on Twitter in this “deadly game” against the dealers and consumers of endangered animal parts like rhino horn.

For the campaign to be successful at reducing trade and consumption of rhino horn, Vietnam is an important target for Beckham’s message as Vietnam has one of the highest rates of rhino horn consumption in the world.

In a 2013 article on the official Manchester United website MU’s commercial director Richard Arnold said some 30 million supporters watched the team on TV in 2012 and over 2.4 million Vietnamese fans have registered their interest in the English football club.

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