Friday, June 18, 2010

Monkey On Menus In France

bushmeatThe traders sell an array of bush meat: monkey carcasses, smoked anteater, even preserved porcupine.

But it isn't a jungle market in Africa - it's the heart of Paris, where a new study has found more than five tonnes of bush meat slips through the city's main airport each week.

Researchers suspect similar amounts are arriving in other European cities in an illegal trade raising concerns about diseases ranging from monkeypox to Ebola, and is another twist in the struggle to integrate a growing African immigrant population.

The research, the first time experts have documented how much bush meat is smuggled into any European city, was published yesterday in the journal Conservation Letters.

''Anecdotally we know it does happen … but it is quite surprising the volumes that are coming through,'' said Marcus Rowcliffe, a research fellow of the Zoological Society of London and one of the study's authors.

In Chateau Rouge, in central Paris, Toukine, an African woman in her 50s, receives deliveries of crocodile and other bush meat each weekend at her shop.

''Everyone knows bush meat is sold in the area and they even know where to buy it,'' said Hassan Kaouti, a local butcher. ''But they won't say it's illegal.''

For the study, experts checked 29 Air France flights from Africa that landed at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle Airport over 17 days in 2008. Of 134 people searched, nine had bush meat and 83 had livestock or fish.


Full story here.
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