Pattaya Daily News

21 June 2010 :: 15:06:50 pm 26388

Illegal ‘Bushmeat’ Trade Rife at European Airports

In a preliminary study of the illegal international ‘bushmeat’ trade in France, investigators have speculated that the highly lucrative and largely unchecked industry smuggles approximately 270 tonnes of endangered and threatened species every year.
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International, the 20th of June 2010 [Pattaya Daily News]: A team of French, Cambodian and British researchers recently presented their findings having undertaken a preliminary study at the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.

Researchers speculate that over 270 tonnes of ‘bushmeat’ could be smuggled through Europe’s major international airports every year. The figures are based on a 17-day study at the airport in Paris.

During the 17-day investigation, researchers checked a total of 134 passengers arriving on 29 flights from 14 African countries, the largest suspected dealers in the illegal trade. A total of 9 people were found attempting to smuggle ‘bushmeat’ into the country with a combined weight of 188kg of meat.

In total, 11 different species were found, including two types of primate, two kinds of crocodile and three rodent species. Four of the confiscated meats were those of a protected species.

Marcus Rowcliffe from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) stated: “As no study like this had been carried out before, we really had no idea as to the volume of bushmeat coming into airports,” he told BBC News. “It was a surprise when we saw how much was arriving.”

It is suspected that the illegal meat was not only being smuggled for personal consumption, but was part of a highly lucrative and organised trade in endangered and protected animal meat. “A 4kg monkey will cost around 100 Euros (Bt4,000), compared with just 5 Euros (Bt200) in Cameroon,” explained Mr. Rowcliffe.

Researchers, examining the data gathered from their investigation of 29 flights, estimate that approximately 273 tonnes of ‘bushmeat’ could be being smuggled into Europe on an annual basis. The team also went on to suggest that the relative popularity of the illegal trade could be due to the lack of priority, and minor punishments placed on this type of smuggling.

Researchers suggest offering incentives to customs officers and increasing the penalties for illegally importing ‘bushmeat’ would be the only effective deterrent in preventing an increase in the highly lucrative trade.

Reporter : John Weston   Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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