By Claire Ellicott
Chimpanzee meat is for sale in restaurants and market stalls in Britain, it has emerged.
Trading standards officials uncovered the illegal bushmeat from the endangered species whilst testing samples believed to be seized from vendors in the Midlands.
The meat, which can cost more than £20 a kilogram, is part of a lucrative black market trade that experts describe as ‘rife’ in Europe.
Last year, the first research on the import of bushmeat into Europe found over 270 tonnes passing through the Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris alone.
The chimpanzee meat is understood to have been discovered following raids by trading standards in the Midlands.
A Government whistleblower revealed: ‘It is well known this practice is underway in the region but I was shocked to discover the meat that was tested was once a chimpanzee.
‘Dubious meat is often tested, and has turned out to be things like rats and vermin in the past – but chimpanzee is unbelievable.’
It is not known how the bushmeat arrived in the Midlands, but experts believe it was probably flown into the country from Africa, possibly concealed in personal luggage.
Dr Marcus Rowcliffe, research fellow at the Zoological Society of London and an expert on the trade, said at least five tonnes of bushmeat arrives in Europe every week to be distributed across the continent. More....