As the novel coronavirus continues to infect humans across Asia, PETA has released new video footage showing live-animal markets in full swing all over the region.
Despite health experts’ warnings that the virus originated in a “wet market” in Wuhan, China, such markets — some of which sell bats (who’ve been linked to COVID-19) and civets (who’ve been linked to SARS) — were filmed recently doing robust business in the Philippines, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia.
In addition to live animals being crammed into cages that are stacked on top of each other and their waste covering the ground, the footage shows human sellers and customers wearing slippers as they walk across blood-soaked floors and handle pigs’ raw flesh with their bare hands.
Blood and body parts cover the floors and countertops; buzzing flies swarm around the bodies of dogs and pigs; chickens and ducks destined for slaughter can barely raise their heads inside cramped cages; and mesh bags packed with live frogs are seen next to dead frogs’ cut-up bodies.
Some animals are used for meat or traditional medicines, while others are sold for their skin or even as pets.
PETA has dispatched letters to top officials in each of the countries where these live-animal markets are still operating, urging them to close them.
“Blood-soaked live-animal markets filled with sick and stressed animals are known to be ripe breeding grounds for pathogens that can cross the species barrier, so why are they still open?” asks PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker.
“Another pandemic is inevitable if we fail to learn from this one, which is why PETA is calling on government officials to eradicate these cruel and dangerous operations.”
PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview — points out that outbreaks of swine flu, avian flu, HIV, hoof-and-mouth disease, mad cow disease, and other illnesses have also stemmed from capturing or farming animals for food.
Press release and video from PETA