A leading primate scientist has claimed chimpanzee meat is being sold on market stalls in Britain after being smuggled into the country.
Dr Ben Garrod, from the University of East Anglia, said the product is being sold as ‘bush meat’; the meat of African wild animals.
He claimed to have been told by border force just a few weeks ago a ton of bush meat from West Africa had been confiscated on a flight heading to the US. The scientist explained the meat was regularly smuggled into the UK and mainland Europe and could be found in a number of major cities.
To help prevent against smuggling, there have been calls for the border force agency to introduce DNA testing to allow them to identify meat at customs. The agency has said it would be investing in new technology to tackle the rising issue.
According to The Telegraph, Dr Garrod said:
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.
Just when I thought the human race couldn’t sink any lower – this! Wouldn’t it be better to have more cows and sheep around than to eat chimpanzee meat? brought in for special celebrations & more expensive than best beef? What sort of people want to eat it? 😡😡😡😡😡 pic.twitter.com/DRZZNn0njG
— jane pursey (@janepursey) June 9, 2019
As well as appearing in British markets, the scientist claimed chimpanzee meat is served as a delicacy at weddings and christenings.
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.
Dr Garrod pointed out the dangers of the bush meat, explaining it could cause the spread of serious diseases such as Ebola as a result of being unsanitary and because chimps are very similar genetically to humans. He said the next ‘big pandemic’ could be spread through the illegally traded meat.
Chimpanzee meat being eaten in UK? How is this even possible? I hope to God those who facilitate this vile trade are caught and imprisoned (and endure for all eternity the appropriate circle of hell). cc @JohnOberg https://t.co/1stX0JFDcL
— Adrian Hilton (@Adrian_Hilton) June 8, 2019
Dr Jane Goodall, who founded primate charity the Jane Goodall institute, reiterated the scientist’s concern, saying:
The smuggling of bush meat is a very alarming issue.
As Ben Garrod says, there is danger of disease spreading from the bush meat to humans.
A government spokesperson addressed the issue, saying:
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.
Hopefully border force will find an effective way to put a stop to the smuggling of bush meat.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.