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Five Tons Of Illegal Bushmeat Smuggled In Every Week

Five Tons Of Illegal Bushmeat Smuggled In Every Week

More than five tons of illegal bushmeat from Africa is smuggled every week in personal luggage through Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport. A team of experts from France, Cambodia, and the U.K., who completed a study based on searches carried out over 17 days at the airport, said it was “the first systematic study of the scale and nature of this international trade.” Their research was published Friday, June 18, in the journal Conservation Letters.

During the 17-day study, 134 passengers arriving on 29 Air France flights from 14 nations in Central and West Africa in June 2008 were searched. The investigation discovered smuggled meat from 11 species, including guenon and mangabay monkeys, the blue duiker forest deer, two types of pangolin and both Nile and slender-snouted crocodiles. The biggest single haul was 112 pounds of meat carried by a single passenger who had no other luggage.

There are many reasons to be alarmed: “Our results estimate that around 270 tones of potentially contaminated, illegal bushmeat is passing unchecked through a single European airport per year, posing a huge potential risk to public health,” said lead author Anne-Lise Chaber of Britain’s Royal Veterinary College.

That’s one. Then there’s the fact that 39 percent of the bushmeat came from creatures supposedly protected by the Convention for the Trade in Endangered Species.

And then too, experts suspect that similar amounts are being smuggled in through other European hubs, and into the United States. Nina Marano, chief of the quarantine unit at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that similar underground markets for bushmeat exist across America. “We have to be culturally sensitive and recognize this is important for some African communities,” she said.”But there are no regulations for the preparation of meat from wildlife to render it safe.”

Another factor: the trade can be very lucrative. “A 4-kilogram monkey will cost around a hundred euros (in France), compared with just five euros in Cameroon,” said Dr. Marcus Rowcliffe, from London’s Zoological Society, and co-author of the report.

Since there is clearly a market for the bushmeat, it seems obvious that with a possible 270 tons of illegal imports a year, it is important to start enforcing the penalties for importing illegal meat, whether by offering incentives to customs officers, increasing the penalties, or raising awareness amongst passengers that bringing such products into the European Union is against the law.

Whether it’s concern for human health or for the preservation of endangered species that motivates you, it’s time to take action!

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122 comments

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4:26AM PDT on Apr 17, 2013

The people of France should pressure their government to expell those bringing bushmeat in and those for whom it is brought in for!

5:45PM PDT on Jul 28, 2010

I was aware that there was a lot of trafficking in India, Asia, & elsewhere of anything poachers could get their hands on, but unaware also that the amount of bushmeat was this much!
My opinion of poachers is that they are subhuman; I just wish that all the countries that are plagued by them had the resources to maintain adequate surveillance of the areas that need protection, and uncorrupt governments that would hand out stiff penalties and sentences if the poachers are caught.

4:53PM PDT on Jul 27, 2010

Awareness is the first step. I had no idea about this. May the animals of the earth find some peace today.

12:42AM PDT on Jul 15, 2010

So, there seems to be huge demand for the meat. This should be stopped.

12:41PM PDT on Jul 12, 2010

poachers I hate them

4:28AM PDT on Jul 9, 2010

I definitely don´t understand Humankind. We can manifest when a football team is leader, when a famous actor is next to us , when a singer is going to play, then, millions of people leave their activities and become followers, even they give up to things and pay, but what about the real important things to be a real human being, to have a nice place to live, to guarantee a future for our generations : what about nature, animals?
are we so stupid? what is intelligence for?
I sometimes think that intelligence should have to change and be in others brains, perhaps the situation will be really better

12:47PM PDT on Jun 27, 2010

The 'culture' that supports the eating of monkeys is primarily in support of eating their brains; usually raw I believe. I also believe that the brain is pretty tasteless; so why do they do it? The answer provided is that it gives a surge of potency; especially sexual. There is a theory that eating brains was responsible for man's sick brain.

12:00PM PDT on Jun 27, 2010

Spot on, Sam! You guys in the West need to stop all that emotional stuff of cultural sensitivity. The west is far too P C and accommodating. You have laws, ENFORCE them. There is NO cultural need to kill and eat all of these gorgeous animals that are indeed endangered. Having said that, I was abhorred to learn that some farmers here in South Africa are breeding LIONS for consumption in the American market. Appalling!! Cows and sheep are bad enough, lets face it but when will this insatiable appetite for foreign and alternative animal tastes abate? We humans have so much to answer for!

7:25AM PDT on Jun 25, 2010

consequences for actions, most definitely, written law does not go nearly far enough in imposing punishments on those who are guilty of these hainus crimes.

12:44AM PDT on Jun 25, 2010

Beyond horrible. The 2nd worst of the worst -- the first being deliberate torture of a helpless animal. Just look at that beautiful face. So much like us. And dwindling so rapidly! There are really no words for this. Poverty or no, bushmeat poachers should face the severest possible penalties. That's a no-brainer.

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