On 27 October, an article in Ecojust said that thousands of tonnes of bushmeat are estimated to be smuggled into Europe each year, both for personal use and commercial trade. It says that bushmeat trafficking not only impacts wildlife populations in source countries, but there are also proven risks of infectious disease spill-over. It says that European authorities should do more to tackle this illegal trade – particularly as most scientists agree that the Covid-19 virus most likely originated in a bat and may have been transmitted to humans via an intermediate host, possibly a pangolin, which was sold at a market. It is said that available information suggests significant quantities of bushmeat are smuggled on passenger flights into major European airports from key source countries in West and Central Africa, and that in the last decade, several studies have estimated the scale of illegal bushmeat imports by examining seizures of bushmeat from personal luggage of passengers arriving in European airports in France, Switzerland and Belgium. Whilst there is no doubt many passengers bring in bushmeat as a ‘taste of home’ for their own use, there are also indications of systematic, organised smuggling.
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