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Born Free USA Blog

Born Free USA Blog

Did the punishment fit the crime?

Published 01/13/10
By Maggie Graham, Program Assistant

An African immigrant residing in New York was sentenced recently to probation for smuggling monkey meat into the U.S. back in 2006 — quite a relaxed punishment and undermining message to send the public for such an abominable crime.

Convicted of illegally importing 720 pounds of baboon, green monkey, and warthog bushmeat, Mamie Manneh claimed that the meat was consumed for religious expression. Baboons and Green monkeys are listed under Appendix II of CITES, which controls trade of such species to prevent compromising their survival through over-exploitation. Manneh successfully exploited the system and smuggled the meat of these animals for consumption here in America.

Giving Manneh probation is merely a slap on the wrist, minimizing wildlife protection matters and suggesting that brutally murdering and cutting up wildlife is to be tolerated — all but encouraging others to try and get away with such irresponsible and heinous actions.

A case of this nature and all others involving bushmeat smuggling requires more substantial penalties in order to deter the illegal activity. Greater consequences will likely see greater compliance. We must better match the crime to the punishment — remember, animals lost their lives here!

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