COVID-19 is widely believed to have originated from a wet market in Wuhan, China towards the end of 2019. Since then, it has spread globally killing more than 261,000 people worldwide.
Since the outbreak started, numerous organizations and celebrities have spoken out about the dangers of wet markets – which exist in cities around the world, including New York – and factory farms.
Gervais, who is believed to be vegetarian and rumored to be vegan, often advocates vocally for animals, and has spoken out about the inhumane treatment of animals at wet markets.
Speaking about the treatment of animals in connection to the current outbreak, during a ‘Saturday live’ session on Facebook, he said: “People keep asking will life ever return to normal. Yes, of course it will. I mean, it will happen again. This will happen again.
“The wet markets are already opening in China and other parts [of the world]. They’re already getting back to it.
“This comes from animals, like all the other things, like MERS and SARS. It comes from…it originated originally in bats, like MERS I think [came from] camels via bats. But anyway, it comes from animals. It comes from eating things you f*cking shouldn’t.
“I’m annoyed at sunbathers, so if I saw a wet market, I don’t know what I’d f*cking do. Oh God.”
While wet markets have come under the spotlight because of the dirty and inhumane conditions in which animals are kept, many advocates have been quick to point out that factory farming is no better, with comedian Bill Maher branding it ‘just as despicable as wet markets’.
The comic made the comments during a recent episode of Real Time With Bill Maher in a segment uploaded onto YouTube titled America’s Wet Markets.
He said: “America’s factory farming is just as despicable as a wet market and just as problematic for our health. Factory farms have a lot more lobbyists, but ecological timebombs tick the same. Americans should not get too high and mighty about wet markets while we are doing this.”
‘Animal abuse in our food industry
Maher added that ‘most, if not all infectious diseases are zoonotic, meaning they start in animals, and jump to humans’. He cited AIDS and Mad Cow as examples.
He said: “To thwart the coronavirus, we’ve been told to create distance, avoid others who are sick, lower stress, and exercise. Are you surprised that diseases flourish among animals when they are forced to live in conditions that are the complete opposite of all of that?
“They are on top of each other, they can’t move, they’re stressed out, I’ve seen airports treat luggage better than we treat animals. Egg-laying hens are starved, and given no water for weeks, to shock their bodies into molting, beaks of chickens are removed. I could go on…
“If you think the market in Wuhan is gross, you should visit one of our giant poultry processing factories. But of course, you can’t, because we have AG-GAG laws that make it a crime to report the crime. And it is a crime of animal abuse that goes on in our food industry.”