Bushmeat is a big deal in Nigeria. People there often eat animals from the wild, like grasscutters, squirrels, and monkeys. This kind of meat is called bushmeat. Hunters catch these animals for food, and it’s common in many parts of Africa.
Different groups of people in Nigeria have their own ideas about which animals are okay to eat and which are not. Some groups say no to certain animals, while others say yes. Sometimes, these rules are not based on science but on beliefs.
Even though there are different opinions, one thing is clear: bushmeat is really popular in Nigeria. Most people there have tried wild animals as food at some point in their lives.
Is bushmeat healthy and safe?
Based on what food experts say, if you cook bushmeat the right way, it’s just as safe to eat as any other meat.
Research from the Food Standards Agency tells us that when bushmeat is cooked properly, it’s safe to eat. But if it’s not cooked well enough, there’s a tiny chance you could get sick.
In this article, we’re going to talk about the good things about bushmeat for your health and also the possible bad things that could happen if you’re not careful with it.
Health Benefits Of Bushmeats
Bushmeats provide a range of essential nutrients, such as proteins, vitamins, and minerals, which can support your body’s overall health.
Lean Protein Boost
Some bushmeats are low in fat and high in protein, aiding in muscle development and repair.
Wild animals’ diets often result in higher levels of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids in certain bushmeats, which are known for their heart-healthy effects.
Different types of bushmeat offer diverse nutritional profiles, contributing to a balanced and varied diet.
For many communities, consuming bushmeat is a part of their culture, fostering a sense of togetherness and preserving traditions.
Opting for bushmeat supports local economies and maintains age-old hunting practices, promoting sustainability.
Side Effects Of Bushmeats
If the steps involved in hunting, transporting, handling, and cooking bushmeat aren’t carried out with proper food safety precautions, it can have negative effects on health.
Eating wildlife meat raises concerns about transferring diseases from animals to humans. Research indicates that zoonotic diseases, which can jump from animals to people, can be contracted through the consumption of bushmeat. For instance, close contact with sick chimpanzees or gorillas has been linked to the transmission of diseases like ebola to humans. Studies have also highlighted that animals commonly consumed in Nigeria, like squirrels, can carry disease pathogens such as the monkeypox virus. If not handled and prepared carefully, these diseases can transfer to humans. Research suggests that around 60% of human diseases originate from animals, with about 70% of these coming from interactions with wild animals.
The hunting of bushmeat often involves targeting endangered animal species, causing harm to these animals’ populations.
Another risk associated with bushmeat consumption is the potential ingestion of lead bullet fragments used in hunting. Though consuming a few fragments may not immediately harm your health, long-term exposure can lead to lead accumulation, affecting metabolism, the central nervous system, and brain function.
Prioritizing safe practices while handling, cooking, and consuming bushmeat is crucial to avoiding these potential health risks and ensuring your well-being.
Bushmeats are among the best organic meats available, with numerous nutritional benefits. In addition, bushmeats are the cheapest source of protein for inhabitants in rural areas. They must, however, be handled correctly, and the meat must be thoroughly prepared to prevent disease transmission from animals to humans.