|You may prefer a steak from a cow, but not everyone does|
Photo credit: public domain
As you've probably realized by this point, the bush meat trade can cause several problems. For starters, people may consume animals that are endangered or threatened, lowering their already low numbers. In Africa, the bushmeat trade is the most significant immediate threat to wildlife. While hunting primates and other wildlife to feed your family may or may not be sustainable depending on how the quantity and frequency of hunting, the abundance of the hunted animal, and other variables, the commercial bush meat trade is definitely not sustainable. Infant primates or other young offspring will die if their mother is hunted, leading to more loss. Concerning today's topic though, consuming bush meat leads to the transfer of disease from animals to humans. Thus, the bush meat trade is not only bad for the wildlife in the dinner pot but it's also sometimes quite bad for the humans eating out of the pot.
|Bush meat in Ghana|
So in areas where bushmeat is the only source of animal protein available, you may purchase some meat at the local market, take it home and serve it up to your family for a filling dinner, and have unknowingly served an animal that was sick and infected with Ebola. While at first it may seem easy to place the blame on those consuming bushmeat, remember that many have consumed bush meat before without getting sick and may not realize that this is how the disease is transmitted. Those selling bush meat depend on this income to support their families. If people are educated on how Ebola is contacted and how unsafe bush meat is, the demand for it will hopefully decrease, preventing future outbreaks. Providing safe sources of animal protein may be another step towards decreasing the demand for bush meat.
Food for thought: How does this post connect with cultural relativism?