The “bushmeat” arrives in Spain, uncontrolled meat of monkeys, toucans and armadillos

The “bushmeat” arrives in Spain, uncontrolled meat of monkeys, toucans and armadillos

For the record, until now, no airport, port or border post had intercepted a"commodity" of this nature, but not long ago the Seprona and the Civil Guard Fiscal Service searched at the Madrid-Barajas airport a suitcase from Equatorial Guinea that concealed a"surprise".

Species trafficking

It was in the framework of the operation"Thunderbird" launched by Interpol on the occasion of theWorld Wildlife Day to combat crimes against flora, fauna and forest resources, when Civil Guard agents verified for themselves something that the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Environment had warned was happening in other countries.

A traveler from Malabo, with a stopover in Casablanca, transshipment in Madrid and final destination Bilbao, must have noticed the presence of the agents and left her suitcase at the Barajas facilities.

In it, the agents found dead, gutted and skinned animals wrapped in shirts and other clothing. Specifically, a primate, possibly a colobus monkey, and two pangolins, as Seprona commander Alberto Madero explained to Efe.

The "bushmeat" phenomenon

Everyone can eat whatever they want. It is a matter of culinary tradition. But the phenomenon of “bushmeat”, meat from wild animals -from Africa, especially- for human consumption would not be important if it were not species protected by the international convention.CITES and if it arrived in Spain with the proper health checks

In the case detected in Barajas, it was not difficult for the Civil Guard to locate the owner of the suitcase, since she had checked it in. She was denounced for a violation of the provisions of the CITES convention for the protection of threatened species. As what was seized could pose a risk to public health, the meat was destroyed.

More cases may have occurred, but have not been discovered. France, however, has found more luggage with this particular content.

In fact, recalls the commander, the French authorities even carried out a random inspection at the Parisian airport of Charles De Gaulle among the passengers of different previously chosen flights. Result: the 134 passengers to whom the luggage was opened carried 188 kilos of bushmeat.

In French Guiana, two shipments of this nature were also recently intercepted and 500 kilos of wild meat (monkeys, parrots, alligators, toucans ...) were found from the neighboring country Suriname.

Culinary culture

Researchers are aware that these meats are part of the daily diet in some cultures and that the emigration of these nationals to other countries has introduced the problem in the destination territories.

Thus, it is common that when emigrants travel to their country of origin to visit family, they take the opportunity to return to their residence with their suitcases full of these meats.

And this entails a double problem. The first problem has to do with food safety, since these meats do not pass any veterinary control and their consumers could be infected with diseases transmitted by these animals.

A second problem is related to the protection of species that, in many cases, are on the verge of extinction, for which the person who transports that meat may incur a crime against fauna.

Difficult investigation

Seprona is aware of the difficulty of carrying out actions in this matter. First, because it is not easy to identify the species at first glance given the degree of semi-rotting or smoking of the meat, which sometimes requires DNA analysis to determine the species, with the consequent financial cost that the offender does not bear.

And you have to know exactly where it comes from, because each country includes its species in one appendix or another of CITES according to their degree of protection.

At the moment, the matter does not seem to affect Spain very directly, but it is alert.

EFE Green

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