Friday, April 16, 2010

Scientists and regulators concerned about diseased bushmeat entering the country

Earlier in the week, the Wall Street Journal ran an interesting article about the discovery of strains of a virus related to HIV in illegal shipments of bushmeat from Africa.  The article quotes Richard Ruggiero who works on international bushmeat issues for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
It is like "any other illegal commodity," Mr. Ruggiero said. "It's a clandestine industry. They sell it in clandestine networks." He added that many of the smuggled meats are from endangered species.
"In Africa today, many wildlife populations are being eaten to extinction," Mr. Ruggiero said. "The greatest impact to wildlife populations in Africa is the bushmeat trade."
Part of the problem in eradicating the bushmeat trade are the low fines and lack of prosecutions for those that are caught.  The article notes that a Liberian immigrant on Staten Island that was charged was only given probation for smuggling and selling meat from monkeys.

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