Could risk of disease change bushmeat-butchering behavior?

19 October 2006 Science News

M. C. Monroe & A. S. Willcox

Animal Conservation|9|(2006)|368–369


LeBreton et al. (2006) have added yet another important consideration to the current bushmeat crisis that continues, largely unabated, in Central and West Africa. The issue of disease carried by wildlife to bushmeat hunting and butch- ering communities brings the medical profession into the collaborative effort to conserve hunted wildlife that includes local communities, resource extraction companies, govern- ments and politicians, and conservation scientists (see the review by Milner-Gulland, Bennett & the SCB 2002 Annual Meeting Wild Meat Group, 2003). We believe, however, that the value gained by associating disease risk to bushmeat conservation must be further evaluated before conservation organizations integrate disease risk into campaigns. Even LeBreton et al. (2006) admit that food supply, poverty and corruption must be addressed before the practice of harvest- ing bushmeat can be changed. In this commentary, we raise several questions that future researchers may consider and outline elements of a potentially successful public education campaign.


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