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Volume 23, Number 12—December 2017
Research Letter

Incentives for Bushmeat Consumption and Importation among West African Immigrants, Minnesota, USA

Emily WalzComments to Author , David Wilson, Jacob C. Stauffer, Danushka Wanduragala, William M. Stauffer, Dominic A. Travis1, and Jonathan D. Alpern1
Author affiliations: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA (E. Walz, W.M. Stauffer, D.A. Travis, J.D. Alpern); African Career, Education, and Resources, Inc., Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, USA (D. Wilson); Stillwater High School, Stillwater, Minnesota, USA (J.C. Stauffer); Minnesota Department of Health, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA (D. Wanduragala)

Main Article


Representative quotations and associated themes discussed by Liberian immigrants in bushmeat focus groups, Minnesota, USA*

Theme Key quotation
1. Nostalgia/cultural connection is a driver for consumption
“So it goes back to the cultural thing, like she said. The taste and that which you're used to. I mean it's how you're brought up, and all that stuff. It's just something like you go away to school and you just miss your mom's cooking. So that's just what it is.”
2. Bushmeat is readily accessible and consumed when visiting friends/relatives in West Africa
Moderator: So for those that I hear, you know, about the regulations, about disease and all of that, do you think that if they were to go back home, would they still eat bushmeat?“Oh yeah.”“Yeah.” (Many others nodding)
3. Skepticism over potential zoonoses from bushmeat
“I don't believe that monkey or bat is carrying this virus. But these beliefs come from my experience. When I was growing up, I would talk to my grand uncle and we used to walk in the forest, teaching me how to survive in the forest… And he taught me one thing, anything that can kill any animal can kill you. And anything an animal carries that can kill it… When you see the animal, you’ll see it’s sick and you see it dead. So anything that can kill me, the animal will not survive. So monkey cannot carry a virus that can kill me [and not look sick].”
4. Cooking and proper food preparation can mitigate disease risk
“When you kill the bushmeat in Africa, before you even eat it, it goes over the fire, they dry the meat, and there it goes in the pot and we are cooking it in Africa—we are not cooking for five minutes. I don’t care how the virus or bacteria is, when you put it in the fire it will not survive for a minute. When we start talking about Ebola, well, Ebola did not come from eating bushmeat, but the Ebola virus might have been on the meat, but when you put it on the fire, I don’t think that the Ebola virus could survive.”
5. African bushmeat may be banned in the United States due to human health risks
“So if you tell somebody, you know someone who don’t know anything about Africa or West Africa and you tell a person, ‘I eat bushmeat,’ right, and they think ‘do you know how many animals over there… who have XYZ, difficult diseases?’ So, from their perspective, I’m going to freak out, like, why are you bringing this into my country, where most likely, I don’t know what it carries, or it could be transmitted and there’ll be a big epidemic.”
*Bold text indicates emphasis of quotation.

Main Article

1These senior authors contributed equally to this article.

Page created: November 16, 2017
Page updated: November 16, 2017
Page reviewed: November 16, 2017
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