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FAO is organizing a workshop on wild meat, bushmeat, livelihoods and sustainability

11 October 2011 - On Wednesday, 26 October 2011, the EMPRES−Wildlife Health and Ecology Unit at the Animal Health Service (AGAH) will host a discussion and workshop on Wild Meat, Bushmeat, Livelihoods, and Sustainability: Implications for Food Security, Zoonoses, Food Safety, and Biodiversity Conservation. This in-house event is a follow-up to the “One Health Workshop” held on 4-6 May 2011 and it will take place in the Mexico Room (D-213Bis) from 9:00 to 17:00.

The goals of the upcoming workshop are: (1) to share knowledge and perspectives regarding this transversal issue and to identify synergies and opportunities for further in-house collaborations, and (2) to develop a Draft Position Paper on Wild Meat and Bushmeat, including perspectives across FAO Departments and Divisions.


There is an increasing concern about the human use of wild meat (commonly known by the African term bushmeat) and its implications. Wildlife harvests as well as trade and consumption of wild meat occur across a wide range of cultural milieus at various geographic and economic scales. From local communities hunting or gathering animals for subsistence to large commercial enterprises involving millions of tons of meat travelling long distances across international borders, the nature of the use by humans of wild meat has quickly shifted in the past decades.

The implications of such practice are complex and wide-ranging, and should not been underestimated. Unsustainable levels of wildlife hunting could threaten people who depend on such resources for food or income and could also threaten wildlife populations. In the context of risks and hazards, there is an associated risk of disease emergence and transmission through hunting and trade of wildlife, and also a risk of food poisoning from wild meat consumption.

For wild meat use to be sustainable, it must incorporate viewpoints from social, ecological, and economic domains. Models aimed at addressing this issue require an inter-sectoral and multidisciplinary approach to provide concrete strategies and reduce undesirable economic, political, social, and environmental impacts to communities depending on wildlife. There is potential, however, to achieve a more sustainable use of wildlife through the “One Health” approach by helping achieve the broader goals of food security and sustainable development.

In the end, the workshop seeks interdepartmental inputs and collaborations to move forward collectively given that the solutions to the problems of wild meat use and the achievement of sustainable practices require a comprehensive vision from Animal Health, Nutrition, Forestry, Fisheries, Economic and Social Sciences, and Natural Resources, among others.

Throughout FAO, all the resources, skills, and tools required to find solutions to wild meat issues are in existence. These need to converge pragmatically to achieve the desired outcomes. This workshop is a small step forward in bringing together most, if not all, FAO Departments and Divisions working on this subject.


© FAO/Fulvio Biancifiori
Courtesy of Fulvio Biancifiori


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