Target: Democratic Republic of Congo Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism; Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda; Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in Cameroon
Goal: Put an end to the illegal bush meat trade
In parts of Western Africa, bush meat, or meat from animals caught in the wild, is commonly hunted. Often times the animals that are caught are endangered or protected species such as gorillas, bonobos, antelopes and lemurs. Some hunters use what they catch for sustenance, or sell it locally. Others export the illegal meat to those willing to pay a high price. Despite laws prohibiting endangered species being used for bush meat, tons of it can be found each day being illegally sold and transported on trains.
Not only is it unethical to poach an endangered species, but it could also lead to the spread of disease in humans. An Ebola outbreak that took the lives of 10 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo may have been linked to bush meat consumption. Between 2008 and 2010, shipments of illegal bush meat seized in the United States were tested by the Center for Disease Control and found positive for strains of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), Ebola, herpes and monkey pox. Some of the viruses still remained even after the animals were smoked.
Despite efforts to thwart the bush meat trade, it is still prevalent in today’s world. It is difficult to enforce, but this is a problem that needs to be nipped in the bud. There needs to be more manpower out in the field to prevent poachers from hunting and selling bush meat. Specials teams need to be trained in this in order to truly enforce the law. Shipments on trains need to be subject to more extensive checks. Local people who depend on bush meat for their livelihood need to be taught alternatives. By signing this petition, you are urging the governments of countries subject to this poaching to crack down on the people that still partake in this illegal practice.
Dear Democratic Republic of Congo Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Tourism; Ministry of Water and Environment of Uganda; Ministry of Forestry and Wildlife in Cameroon,
The poaching of endangered species to sell for meat is a horrific practice. We are grateful that you have put forth efforts to prevent the bush meat trade. We realize that it is extremely difficult to enforce and regulate, but it is an urgent and important cause. There needs to be more manpower out in the field. Teams specially trained for this cause need to be implemented to enforce the ban on bush meat. In a time where the extinction rate is 1000 times more than what should naturally occur, it is of utmost importance to take all measures to ensure the protection of the species that we have left.
In addition to animal protection reasons, bush meat is also a danger to human health. Strains of SIV, Ebola, monkey pox and other diseases can be transmitted from consumption. Shipments on trains need to be thoroughly checked to prevent bush meat from being exported. Locals who use bush meat for sustenance need to be aware of its risks and given assistance in finding an alternative way to provide for themselves.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: CIFOR via Flickr