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Thread: Monkey meat at center of New York city court case

  1. #1
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Monkey meat at center of New York city court case

    Monkey meat at center of NYC court case - Yahoo! News

    (It's cultural, you see, so don't hate!!!)


    From her baptism in Liberia to Christmas years later in her adopted New York City, Mamie Manneh never lost the longing to celebrate religious rituals by eating monkey meat.
    Now, the tribal customs of Manneh and other West African immigrants have become the focus of an unusual criminal case charging her with meat smuggling, and touching on issues of religious freedom, infectious diseases and wildlife preservation.
    The case "appears to be the first of its kind relating to that uniquely African product," defense attorney Jan Rostal wrote in a pending motion to dismiss. "Unfortunately, it represents the sort of clash of cultural and religious values inherent in the melting pot that is America."

    At the center of the case in federal court is a modest woman with nine children and a history of domestic discord.
    The case dates to early 2006, when federal inspectors at JFK Airport examined a shipment of 12 cardboard boxes from Guinea.
    They were addressed to Manneh and, according to a flight manifest, contained African dresses and smoked fish with a value of $780.
    Instead, stashed underneath the smoked fish, the inspectors found what West Africans refer to as bushmeat: "skulls, limbs and torsos of non-human primate species" plus the hoof and leg of a small antelope, according to court papers.

    Three days later, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents were at Manneh's door, where she told them she ran a smoked fish importing business.

    According to the agents, she initially denied ordering any bushmeat from Africa or ever eating it while in the United States.
    But after she consented to a search, the agents came across a tiny, hairy arm hidden in her garage.

    "Monkey," she explained, claiming the arm was sent to her out of the blue "as a gift from God in heaven."
    Federal prosecutors hit Manneh with smuggling charges that accused her of violating import procedures and suggested she was a menace to man and beast alike.

    A criminal complaint cited evidence that the illegal importation of bushmeat encourages the slaughter of protected wild animals.
    More ominously, the complaint warned of "the potential health risks to humans linking bushmeat to diseases like Lassa fever, Ebola, HIV, SARS and monkeypox."

    Defense attorney Rostal has countered by accusing the government of picking on a poorly educated immigrant.

    Her client's only offense, she said, was her inability to grasp Western attitudes and highly technical regulations regarding bushmeat.
    Defense papers also argue that the U.S. demand for the meat involved in the Manneh case from Africa's green monkey population is "too small to have any significance for conservation."

    Manneh, 39, testified last year that before arriving in the United States more than 25 years ago, monkey meat was critical to her religious upbringing.

    At age 7, "I was baptized and they used that for the baptizing ceremony," she told a judge.

    Manneh is already serving a two-year sentence in state prison for trying to run over a woman she suspected of sleeping with her husband, Zanger Jefferson. If convicted of the federal charges she faces up to five more years in prison and deportation.

    "The government's taking a woman away from her children," complained Jefferson, who's struggling to raise the children alone. "It's very depressing, especially with the holidays right around the corner."

    The prosecution also has dampened spirits at the church in Staten Island where Manneh and other African immigrants once packed the pews to practice a religion blending Christianity and tribal customs.
    One of the few worshippers left, Leona Artis, says the congregation's appetite for monkey meat is deeply misunderstood.

    Take Thanksgiving.

    "Where some people have turkey, we'll have monkey meat," Artis said. "I've been eating it all my life. It's delicious."
    Baptisms, Easter, Christmas, weddings all are occasions for eating monkey, Manneh's supporters said in a sworn statement filed with the court.

    The statement was vague about how the meat is obtained, but explains that it always arrives dried and smoked. Once blessed by a pastor, "we usually prepare it by cooking it for several hours into a stew," they said.

    For them, the exotic import is more than just food. "We eat bushmeat," they said, "for our souls."

  2. #2
    Elite Member KrisNine's Avatar
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    Uh...we don't eat monkey here...perhaps someone should tell them....

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    Elite Member nwgirl's Avatar
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    Defense attorney Rostal has countered by accusing the government of picking on a poorly educated immigrant.
    She wasn't too uneducated to know enough to try and lie to the police though. Funny how that works.
    "The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits."

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    Bronze Member xavier_moon's Avatar
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    Um...scientists have been investigating the transmission of HIV via the consumption of monkey meat...something about cross species viral transmission...so monkey meat might be just a taaaaaaaaaaaad risky...yes?

    Baltimore Sun Examines Research Linking HIV Transmission to Monkey Meat - The Body

    Bush-meat trade breeds new HIV - 09 August 2004 - New Scientist
    ...feed me now!

  5. #5
    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    Eh, monkey meat, rat, snake, horse. I can't say I'm terribly bothered since weird things are eaten all over the world. I think Christians are supposed to avoid cloven hooved stuff as well as crustacians, although most I know don't. And I have to say that I admire her level of jealousy in trying to run over a rival. That's real dedication to her man.
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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