Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I guess we won't be eating monkey any time soon...

Researchers found a strain of a virus related to HIV in the flesh of primates illegally imported into New York City for human consumption.

Apparently, there's a whole underground market for bushmeat in the US. Bushmeat is a general term that used to refer to terrestrial wild animals (think "game") but now usually means endangered species hunted unsustainably, especially in Central and West Africa. Meat from some of these animals (monkey, cane rat, Malayan fruit bat) is considered a delicacy by West African communities and are consumed cured or smoked. The meat is smuggled into the US via parcels and personal suitcases, sometimes uncooked (blood and all).

Due to the virus, I'll pass on monkey meat at this point, but I wouldn't mind trying cane rat and/or the fruit bat. Those don't sound like endangered animals to me - any NYC-based West Africans want to volunteer to cook me one?

Read more about this here.

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