Footage Shows Live-Animal Markets STILL Operating in Across Asia Despite Mounting COVID-19 Death Toll

It’s bloody, filthy environments like these in which zoonotic diseases originate.

The novel coronavirus—which experts believe began in a wet market in Wuhan, China—has killed more than 200,000 people worldwide. Why on Earth are these markets still open?

After releasing footage inside wet markets in Indonesia and Thailand in early April—months after the COVID-19 outbreak began—PETA investigators observed more filth, misery, and death at nearly a dozen other animal markets elsewhere in Asia. Despite a growing death toll, world leaders calling for a ban on such markets, and the continued importance of flattening the curve, these markets and others like them are still conducting business as usual.

These Live-Animal Markets Could Be Where the Next Pandemic Originates

This new footage, captured recently, takes viewers inside live-animal markets in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, where chickens, ducks, fish, dogs as well as bats, monkeys, and other exotic animals were sold.

Both live, terrified animals as well as bloody carcasses and rotting flesh were being peddled for human consumption. At multiple sites, investigators observed marketgoers walking around in flip-flops on floors covered with assorted bodily fluids and handling raw flesh and touching blood-streaked countertops without gloves. At two other markets, civet cats and bats were sold for food—even though they’re a reservoir species for severe acute respiratory syndrome (commonly known as SARS), another infamous, deadly coronavirus.

Blood and Rotting Flesh Everywhere

Weeks before, PETA investigators visited wet markets in Indonesia and Thailand, shocked even back then that any were still operating. At the Tomohon Market in Indonesia, a PETA investigator observed that the flesh of wild boars, snakes, dogs, and rats (whose babies like to put their arms around their mother’s neck while being bathed) were openly sold at the market. Gloveless workers and customers were seen handling the body parts of animals who had been killed on site. A mutilated snake was curled up on a table, blood staining the white tiles red. Chickens with open wounds were bound to other birds awaiting slaughter.

Cats Are Caged and Sold for Meat, Too

Terrified, exhausted cats—sensitive and intelligent, just like the cats we share our hearts and homes with—were kept in a crowded, dirty cage without food or water until they were purchased for their flesh.

Suffering and Death in a Thai ‘Wet Market’

At Bangkok’s Khlong Toei Market, a PETA investigator saw bags jam-packed with live, frightened frogs (some of whom use trees as “drums” to send messages to one another) being plunked down next to the mutilated bodies of other slaughtered frogs.

Live ducks and chickens (who have their own unique language, with more than 30 different sounds) were kept in cramped, filthy cages, sometimes with the bodies of birds who’d already been purchased and killed. Live turtles (some of whom can hold their breath under water for over 100 days) and other “exotic” sea animals were also available for purchase. Like all animals, they just want to be left in peace, not killed for food.

Enough Is Enough

All wet markets—including the Tomohon Market and the Khlong Toei Market—are potential breeding grounds for zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19, SARS, and MERS. At such markets, feces and other bodily fluids can easily get on traders’ and customers’ shoes and be tracked into restaurants and homes. The workers who handle the animals often don’t wear gloves (as seen in the video footage) and can also spread bacteria. Flies swarm around the bodies of dead pigs and other animals, and the countertops and floors are streaked red with the blood of gutted fish and slaughtered animals.

PETA has written to health officials in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and elsewhere in Asia to call for an end to deadly live-animal markets.

To prevent more diseases like COVID-19, all live-animal markets must shut down.

Since PETA released the initial footage on April 8, more than 150,000 people have signed PETA and our international affiliates’ action alerts urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for an end to deadly live-animal markets around the globe. With hundreds of thousands of human lives claimed by COVID-19, it’s more critical than ever that we all take action.

Take Action Now!

There is one decisive action that we can all take right now to help prevent the next global pandemic: Ditch meat, eggs, and dairy.

Remember: The only truly sustainable and conscientious way to live is vegan.

And as we all continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, please also urge the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for the closure of all live-animal markets worldwide.