And now for the latest on bushmeat, the rare subject that doesn’t show up on the Chowhound boards. The consumption of bushmeat, a significant protein source for the rural poor in central Africa, is already a major environmental issue there, but a new study by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) should get the awkward topic international attention. CIFOR concluded that if bushmeat is consumed at the present rates, important animal species, including primates, will be decimated by midcentury. Seems simple enough.
Problem is, since bushmeat can provide up to 80 percent of the protein in some rural diets, a ban on it would have “dire consequences” for the desperately poor. So CIFOR is asking “policymakers in the region to develop policies protecting endangered species, while allowing sustainable hunting of ‘common’ game [deer, for example], since there is no clear substitute available if common wild meat sources were to be depleted.” It’s unclear if that distinction will be viable in the wild (although CIFOR cited models in Peru and Malaysia, which banned bushmeat trading while legalizing indigenous hunting rights). Bear this in mind, too: As people become more dependent on bushmeat, the likelihood of deadly zoonotic outbreaks—Ebola, HIV, Rift Valley fever—may increase.