Consumption of wild meat in wet markets and impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Food Security in South America


According to the World Health Organization, transmission of the SARS-CoV-2 virus raised from the contact between humans and wild animals, possibly in wet markets in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Due to the supposed connection of the virus with wet markets, restriction or prohibition of trade and/or consumption of wild animals is being questioned. Despite the fact that in Latin America the consumption of wild animals is also very important, there is little information describing this consumption. Few estimates determine an annual rural consumption between 9 and 23 million wild animals in the Brazilian Amazon, and 113,000 animals in the Peruvian Amazon. Decisions on the consumption of wild meat are controversial because it is currently considered a high health risk consumption, and its prohibition or restriction could bring unfair and ineffective side effects, since millions of people still consume wild meat and relies on the wild meat to survive. In parallel, the status of health emergency due to the new Coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) is causing unprecedented global social and economic costs. Many families have lost their jobs and there has been an increase in prices and food shortages. In this context, some families may have suffered problems in maintaining a healthy diet, and consequently have lost their food security. This study aims to 1) quantify and determine the socio-economic and biogeographic drivers that explain the consumption of wild meat in South America, and 2) determine variations in the consumption of animal protein due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether these changes have led to a decrease in food security.

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