IFAW supports call for on-the-spot fines to tackle illegal meat imports
“The illegal bushmeat trade means high profits and little chance of detection for those involved”, says Jenny Hawley, wildlife trade campaigner for IFAW UK. “There is an urgent need for better intelligence if we are to change the green light for bushmeat smugglers to red.
“IFAW endorses all of the NAO’s recommendations for on-the-spot fines, heightened public awareness, increased prosecutions and an intelligence-led approach to detection. While we welcome the efforts to date, Customs and Defra need more resources if they are to implement these recommendations effectively”, Jenny Hawley added.
IFAW warned that the threat of illegal meat imports needs to be addressed as a priority to protect public health and animal welfare, as well as ensure to the long-term survival of endangered species threatened by the bushmeat trade.
“IFAW is calling for regular sample testing of bushmeat seizures in the UK to help identify the species involved, because at the moment we are almost completely ignorant of the types of animals being smuggled in - it could be anything from rat to gorilla,” added Jenny Hawley.
“The implications are frightening for both people and animals. Human health
is at risk from zoonosis and international and national trade in the meat of
endangered species such as great apes and forest elephants could push them