helleborus niger on Mon, 17 May 1999 00:00:02 +0200 (CEST)

[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> FOREIGN NEWS

opet se glupiram, ali: evo sta jedu oni iz NATOa...


/danasnji world section Sunday Times je vrlo zabavan, ne samo ovo sto saljem.../

May 16 1999    EUROPE 

Chimps on the menu in Brussels restaurants 
by Annamarie Cumiskey 
and Richard Woods 

CHIMPANZEES and monkeys are being served up as delicacies at restaurants in the
heart of Europe, an investigation has revealed.   Some of Man's closest
relatives are being cooked for dining tables in Brussels even though two years
ago the European Union declared that it would crack down on the illegal trade
in what is known as "bushmeat". 

Great apes, some of which differ from humans in only 2% of their genetic
make-up, are also on the menu in Antwerp and other large cities, according to
sources in the restaurant trade. 

Earlier this month at the Cité Mont-Fleury restaurant, which serves Congolese
cuisine in the Etaings Noir district of Brussels, the waitress did not hesitate
when an undercover reporter asked whether monkey meat was available. "Yes, we
have it," she said. 

Forty-five minutes later the dish arrived, an array of skinless pieces of meat
in a greeny-brown ragout of African vegetables with rice. The meat smelt
strongly of being smoked. A customer passing the table recognised the dish as
monkey and the restaurant listed the meal as makaku - monkey - on the bill. 

The stew was not eaten but sent for analysis last week at the veterinary
department at Ghent University. Tests confirmed that it came from a primate and
that it contained bones from the elbow and forearm. Hunters had shot the
animal: four lead pellets were lodged in the muscle and bone. 

The waitress later said the meat had been brought to Belgium by her cousin from
the Congo and that the restaurant received supplies every few months.
"Customers telephone to know when we will have it next," she said. "In Africa
people eat monkeys, so why can they not eat them here?" 

At another restaurant in the backstreets, a waiter showed the menu to a
reporter and his companion and said: "We also have other dishes: the chimpanzee
is very tasty, if you like that type of thing." 

In such restaurants four or five matchbox-sized chunks of meat, served with a
sauce and fou fou (a floury African staple), cost anything up to £40. 

Eating chimpanzee or monkey is a sign of status among the black community and
reminds expatriates of home. One Nigerian man said: "Some people from eastern
Africa would not live here if they could not get the meat." Favoured recipes
include cooking monkey in white wine or with peanut sauce. 

"It is horrific that the trade in bushmeat has turned up in Europe," said Steve
Brend, the British representative of the International Primate Protection
League. "It is undoubtedly the greatest threat to the great apes." 

One man who claimed to know Belgian traders importing the illegal meat said
that some had been sold to other European countries including Britain. 

After steep declines in their numbers, all apes are protected by the Convention
on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites), and any trade in higher
primates, such as chimpanzees, is banned. The chimp population in Africa has
collapsed by more than 90% this century and is now estimated to be less than

But chimpanzees are not safe from the trade in bushmeat. Last month, after a
tipoff, armed police and health officials raided 12 African food shops in the
Matongé area of Brussels. They were checking hygiene standards and tax evasion
but found far worse: in one shop two dead chimpanzees were hanging from the
ceiling in a store room. They had been skinned, gutted, dried and salted. 

"It was horrible. They were immediately recognisable as chimpanzees," said
Sagairadji Chevremont, an officer who took part in the operation. Other primate
meat, two antelopes and tortoises, which are also regarded as choice morsels,
were recovered. 

The Congolese woman who ran the shop was unabashed. "We had antelopes,
porcupines and snakeskins and monkey meat," she said. Two chimps were on the
premises, she admitted, but were not for sale. "It is something we want to eat
with our family for special occasions." 

Demand by European residents and the activities of Western companies in Africa
is expanding the illegal trade, according to environmental groups. 

The Ape Alliance, an umbrella group of conservation organisations, says logging
of Africa forests by European and Asian companies has opened up remote areas to
poachers. Animals once hunted by locals for subsistence have become profitable
to smugglers. 

The scandal presents deadly risks to the health of humans as well as our
evolutionary cousins. Two years ago the eating of chimpanzee meat in Gabon was
blamed for an outbreak of ebola, the highly infectious fever. More than 20
people died. Chimpanzees may also be the source of the virus that leads to

Despite the evidence on its own doorstep of an illegal trade and possible
danger to public health, the European Union appears ineffectual. Ten days ago
Tony Cunningham, a British MEP who had questioned what was being done to
protect great apes after the earlier European resolution, was told that the EU
was aware of the grave threats to great apes and "action has been taken to
remedy this". No details were given. 

Ann DeGrees, director of Global Action, an animal rights group in Brussels,
said: "It is completely unacceptable that this meat is on sale. The state has
not done enough to stop the smuggling." 

Copyright 1999 Times Newspapers Ltd. 

#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo@desk.nl and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/  contact: nettime-owner@desk.nl