UK consumers warned of illegal meat trade

Rise in illegal African meat trade poses a serious threat to both native wildlife and human health across the globe

British consumers risk contracting viruses such as Ebola, foot and mouth and AIDS because of a burgeoning rise in the illegal ‘bushmeat’ trade. Recent figures reveal that up to 10 tonnes of the illegal African meat is being imported into London markets every day. The meat, which comes from the snaring and consumption of wild animal meat, is often sold as beef, which sells at a high price to unwitting tourists in Kenya and consumers overseas. The illicit trade is creating a serious threat to African wildlife and human health both in Kenya and the UK.

Prompted by the rise in poverty, a range of wild animals are snared by poachers, butchered, and then transported across the globe as part of a widespread commercial trade. Desperate to make money for their families, independent poachers ensnare wild animals such as gorillas, zebras and even elephants. Organised criminals also poach, often hundreds of animals at a time. A typical lone poacher can ensnare between 40 to 50 animals a day, five or six of which will be caught and sold in informal butcheries as bushmeat.

The Kenyan government, which condemns the practice as strictly illegal, is desperately trying to eradicate the trade. However, individual poachers have often been forced into the trade through the rise in poverty. Animal rights charity Born Free has teamed up with Land Rover to educate Kenyans about the extreme danger to both wildlife and humans that the bushmeat trade represents. To see the innovative way in which they hope to accomplish this, watch the video feature above, where journalist and broadcaster Miriam O’Reilly visits Kenya with Born Free to uncover the full story behind the brutal bushmeat trade.