Just out in PLOS One, a paper (get it HERE!) I co-authored with colleagues at the University of Kent on the preferences of wild meat consumers in Vietnam. The country is a significant consumer of wildlife, particularly wild meat, in urban restaurant settings. To meet this demand, poaching of wildlife is widespread, threatening regional and international biodiversity.
Previous interventions to tackle illegal consumption of wild meat in Vietnam have generally focused on limiting supply. While critical, they have been impeded by a lack of resources, the presence of increasingly organised criminal networks and corruption. Attention is, therefore, turning to the consumer, but a paucity of research investigating consumer demand for wild meat will impede the creation of effective consumer-centred interventions.
Our findings indicate that demand for wild meat is heterogeneous and highly context specific. Wild-sourced, rare, and expensive wild meat-types are eaten by those situated towards the top of the societal hierarchy to convey wealth and status and are commonly consumed in lucrative business contexts. Cheaper, legal and farmed substitutes for wild-sourced meats are also consumed, but typically in more casual consumption or social drinking settings.