Viva! 27 March 2001
8 York Court
Bristol BS2 8QH Tel: 0117 944 1000
Fax: 0117 924 4646
Stop Bush Meat Time Bomb
Viva! is demanding that co-ordinated action is taken to stop the flood of smuggled meat into the UK.
Thousands of tonnes of illegal meat are finding their way into Britain through airports in suitcases. Ciel Logistics at Heathrow airport claim that up to one bag of bush meat per person per flight from African countries, including Nigeria and Ghana, could pass through Heathrow.
Bush rats, monkeys, tortoises and antelope have been photographed in suitcases. Juliet Gellatley, director of Viva!, says: “Smuggled meat may have been responsible for the foot and mouth crisis. But bush meat can harbour more deadly diseases which kill people - including TB, Ebola and yellow fever.
“The bush meat trade not only threatens us but is the most serious threat to the survival of gorillas. It also threatens chimpanzees, bonobos and forest elephants. The gorilla shares 97.7 per cent of our genes. Like it, and the chimpanzee, we are classed as a great ape. Eating a gorilla or chimp is tantamount to cannibalism. Yet humans are eating our fellow apes to extinction.
“For the sake of the world’s wildlife and our health - the bush meat trade must be stopped.”
Bush meat is sold in ethnic markets and restaurants throughout the UK. Viva! is asking the government to target flights from suspected areas for inspection; to destroy illegal imports and deport the people who smuggle in the meat.
Further information from: Juliet Gellatley or Tony Wardle on tel: 0117 944 1000
Editor’s note: Viva! ended the UK supermarket trade in kangaroo meat after a three year campaign and stopped almost all sales of ostrich and crocodile. In 1999, Viva! was awarded the Australian Wildlife Protection Award.
27 March 2001