Two seemingly unrelated stories—Ebola in Nigeria and a new report on the impact of global meat production—are in fact directly tied to each other. Read on to learn how.
See if you can connect the dots on these two news stories ripped from today’s headlines.
› Here is Story No. 1: Nigeria is cracking down on hunting and discouraging the use of wild animals for entertainment to stave off the spread of Ebola.
According to a report by the Voice of America, since July, when Nigeria recorded its first Ebola case, the government has been conducting a nationwide campaign to discourage interaction with animals and the consumption of “bush meat” from wild animals, which can spread the disease to people. Ahmed Maiyakim, a spokesman for the Kaduna State government in Nigeria, said the state is now enforcing existing hunting bans to keep hunters away from animals and to halt the sale of bush meat.
Nearly 1,400 people have died of Ebola since the outbreak began in February in West Africa.
As a sign of the impact of Ebola, VOA reported that six men from a remote village In Kaduna came to town with small baboons looking for an audience. “Usually, when animal trainers come to the city, people flock to watch monkeys dance in trousers or to see the baboons mimic farmers and herders,” the article stated. “But [this time] no one wanted to be near the animals.”
Musa Maibigidar, who makes his living hunting monkeys and other animals to be sold as meat at the market, told VOA that the local hunters’ union has agreed not to hunt right now, but they will go back to work when the weather is dry. Maibigidar said people aren’t currently buying bush meat for fear of Ebola. But like the hunters, he thinks people will eventually be more afraid of hunger than disease.
› Here is Story No. 2: The world is eating too much meat, and that’s bad news for the earth’s forests, arable land, and scarce water.
A new report from the Worldwatch Institute, entitled, “Peak Meat Production Strains Land and Water Resources,” noted that global production of meat hit a new high of 308.5 million tons in 2013, up 1.4% from the previous year, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
“In response to growing purchasing power, urbanization and changing diets, meat production has expanded more than fourfold over just the last five decades,” according to a news release accompanying the report.