No jail time is a disappointing conclusion to a smuggling case that included immigration diversity, species preservation and a threat to public health.
In 2006, a Liberian with a long rap sheet, Mamie Manneh
(pictured), was busted for illegaly importing 720 pounds of monkey meat
through Kennedy Airport. (See backstory items on Monkey Meat Diversity
.) But the judicial decision was weak...
Staten Island octomom Mamie Manneh gets probation in monkey meat case, New York Daily News, December 12, 2009Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Green argued that Mamie Manneh was not entitled to leniency because she has 11 prior arrests - including one for running over her husband`s suspected mistress with an SUV - and cooked up a bogus defense that she had a constitutional right to eat bushmeat."Your daughter calls you `supermom,` so the picture is not so clear," said Brooklyn Federal Judge Raymond Dearie.Mamie Manneh, 41, was busted in 2006 when Kennedy Airport agents found hacked-up animal heads and haunches stashed in a shipment of smoked fish.Brooklyn federal Judge Raymond Dearie cut Manneh a break, he said, because she suffers from mental illness and has 11 children at home.But he also gave her a stern warning not to violate her probationary terms. Her long rap sheet includes charges of selling stolen clothing and running down her husband`s girlfriend with an SUV.
So a multiple offender with 11 priors was given probation only. Apparently the judge thought the charges were no biggie, despite the pleas of the world`s best known defender of primates: Jane Goodall urges judge to consider `gravity` of woman`s crime of importing illegal monkey meat
(NY Daily News
, December 11).
Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall urged the judge who will sentence a Staten Island woman who imported illegal monkey meat from Africa to consider the "gravity" of the crime.Goodall`s letter to Federal Judge Raymond Dearie was released on the eve of Mamie Manneh`s sentencing Friday."As a leader in the global community, the U.S. has a responsibility to uphold and strongly enforce" laws to curb the "devastating impact unregulated consumption of wildlife is having on species populations in Africa," Goodall, 75, wrote.She also stressed that bringing illegal wildlife into the U.S. could have "grave consequences on public health."A prosecution expert said monkey meat could cause outbreaks of Ebola, measles, tuberculosis and retroviruses similar to HIV.
The New York Times
included the public health aspect in its November 17, 2007, report on the Manneh case: A Taste of Baboon and Monkey Meat, and Maybe of Prison, Too
Epidemiologists have shown that ebola can be contracted by butchering chimpanzees, and the first human case of H.I.V. probably originated through similar exposure, said Nathan Wolfe, a professor of epidemiology at the University of California in Los Angeles. The growth in global demand for wild game, he said, increases the potential for spreading agents "that could represent serious threats to humanity," he said.
So the consumption of monkey meat is not a harmless custom of diverse immigrants, but a danger to public health.