The coronavirus is understood to have originated in a wet market – where live animals are sold and slaughtered next to dead ones – in Wuhan, China, last December. Since then, the virus has spread globally killing almost 90,000 people at the time of writing.
Multiple outbreaks in recent years have been linked to the capturing and farming animals for food, including swine flu, avian flu, SARS, HIV, hoof-and-mouth disease, and mad cow disease among others.
Animal consumption and disease
As a result of the virus, a number of organizations are calling for the closure of these markets – which operate in countries around the world. PETA has petitioned the World Health Organisation asking for its help in shutting them down.
PETA describes live animal markets as the ‘perfect breeding grounds for diseases’ as ‘stressed, injured, and sickly animals are commonly caged in public areas and on sidewalks – where feces, blood, and offal can contaminate buyers and sellers and be tracked into restaurants or homes’.
Now PETA Asia has released new video footage (above) showing that live-animal markets in Tomohon, Indonesia, and Bangkok, Thailand are still operating. The video follows reports that wet markets have also re-opened in China.
The charity says its footage shows ‘humans wearing flip-flops walking across blood-soaked floors and handling pigs’ raw flesh with their bare hands’.
It adds that flies can be seen buzzing around the bodies of dead animals including dogs, pigs, and a snake, while live animals including chickens, cats, and frogs await slaughter.
Risk of future pandemics
“The next pandemic is right around the corner as long as sick and stressed animals are crowded together in blood-soaked meat markets,” PETA founder, Ingrid Newkirk, said.
“PETA is calling on the World Health Organisation to help shut down these dangerous operations, whether they’re killing chickens in New York or cats in Indonesia.”
PETA Asia has called on the health ministers of Indonesia, Thailand, and other Asian countries to close wet markets, but has not received any responses yet.