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Democratic Republic of the Congo

Bushmeat is among the principal sources of protein for many inhabitants of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Indeed, insects and wild game may account for 70% to 80% of the protein sources for inhabitants of the country’s forests and riverine areas.[1] Game meat also appears to be sold in city markets, particularly in the form of dried or smoked meat.[2] Bushmeat is therefore an important source of income for the rural populations that provide these meat products to the urban markets.[3]

Congolese law provides that wild animals can be raised for commercial purposes, provided the government authorizes it.[4] Similarly, individuals may keep wild animals only if they have been granted official permission.[5] Anyone wishing to use wild animals, or wild animal products, for commercial purposes must also obtain a government license.[6] Live wild animals held for commercial purposes must be quarantined before their commercialization.[7] Violations of these provisions are punishable by fines and up to five years in jail.[8] However, it appears that these legal provisions are applied very inconsistently, if at all.[9]

Some reports indicate that the consumption of meat from wild animals was banned in the DRC during the 2018 Ebola epidemic.[10] It appears that this prohibition was temporary, and the legal status of bushmeat in the DRC is unclear. At least one report states that consumption of bushmeat in the DRC is currently legal, as it was not banned in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.[11] Another report states that hunting and consuming bushmeat has, in fact, been banned by the Congolese government, at least in Virunga National Park.[12] We were unable to find any primary sources—laws, decrees or other official texts—confirming whether or not hunting or consuming bushmeat is currently legal in the DRC.

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Prepared by Nicolas Boring
Foreign Law Specialist
August 2020


[1] TRAFFIC Afrique Centrale, République Démocratique du Congo, Elaboration de la stratégie et du plan d’action national sur la « viande de brousse » 1 (2011), https://perma.cc/5JCJ-DQCT.

[2] Id.

[3] Id. at 2.

[4] Loi No. 82-002 du 28 mai 1982 portant règlementation de la chasse, art. 82, https://perma.cc/9M7L-75UY.

[5] Id. art. 78.

[6] Arrêté No. 014/CAB/MIN/ENV/2004 du 29 avril 2004 relatif aux mesures d’exécution de la Loi No. 82-002 du 28 mai 1982 portant réglementation de la chasse, art. 38, https://perma.cc/Q7U9-HMYA.

[7] Id. art. 40.

[8] Loi No. 82-002 du 28 mai 1982 portant règlementation de la chasse, art. 85; TRAFFIC Afrique Centrale, supra note 1, at 9.

[9] TRAFFIC Afrique Centrale, supra note 1, at 2, 6, 16, 18.

[10] Jacques Deveaux, Malgré Ebola, la consommation de viande de brousse reste prisée en Afrique, France Info (June 4, 2018), https://perma.cc/JZ7N-SFEH.

[11] Christelle Marot, En Afrique centrale, la consommation de viande de brousse ne faiblit pas, Equal Times (June 3, 2020), https://perma.cc/6GWN-AXUU.

[12] Joseph Tsongo, DRC: Ban on Bushmeat Consumption Affects Community Diets, Barza Wire (July 6, 2020), https://perma.cc/AB87-B4HK.

Last Updated: 12/31/2020