Chimpanzee meat is now being served as a special treat at British weddings and sold as ‘bush meat’ on market stalls according to reports that has left many people repulsed. As we reported previously this comes as Dog Meat eating across the UK has also rocketed.
According to The Telegraph:
Leading primate scientist Dr Ben Garrod has said he was told by customs officials just weeks ago that a ton of bush meat from West Africa had been confiscated on a flight bound for the US.
He said it is routinely smuggled into Europe and the UK – which could cause the spread of serious disease as the meat is unsanitary and chimpanzees are very genetically similar to humans.
The University of East Anglia professor has called for DNA testing to be used on meat imports which come into the UK, and for more resources to be put into research in order to stop this trade.
“It’s rife. It’s there – it’s in all the major cities across Europe and the US. We have seen bush meat confiscated in the UK in check points at borders and in markets.
From what I know, I can’t imagine why people would want to eat chimpanzee, but most bush meat that comes to the UK is seen as a luxury food. It’s the equivalent of us wanting game. It’s often brought to the country for specific celebrations like a wedding or a christening. We aren’t targeting a cultural group but it is an illegal activity.
In America, primate meat has been confiscated that was infected with diseases that can be spread to humans.
The biggest worry for health authorities at the moment is that a disease that can be passed between humans and animals will be the next big pandemic For example, HIV originally came from primates, we are so similar so the potential is there for various pathogens and viruses to be transmitted or mutate.”
Dr Jane Goodall PhD, who founded primate charity the Jane Goodall institute also told The Telegraph: “The smuggling of bushmeat is a very alarming issue. As Ben Garrod says, there is danger of disease spreading from the bushmeat to humans.
Much of the meat is from threatened or endangered species. Interpol is becoming increasingly involved in animal trafficking and could, perhaps, be persuaded to take a more active role in the bushmeat smuggling.” She added that if DNA testing is too costly “perhaps dogs could be trained to detect bushmeat.”
In 2011, chimpanzee meat was understood to have been detected during a Trading Standards raid in the West Midlands. It is thought the ‘delicacy’ is being eaten at weddings and christenings amongst the African communities now living in the UK with the sale of Chimpanzee’s popular in the Congo.
A spokesperson for the Government said:
“We take the smuggling of any contraband extremely seriously. As well as working with enforcement and intelligence partners in the UK and internationally, Border Force continues to invest in training and equipment to ensure that we do all we can to intercept illegal foodstuffs and crack down on smugglers.”