As COVID hits countries like never before, PETA has a message for governments: Close all pandemic-promoting live-markets forever. PETA investigators have recently visited live-animal markets in China, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam, and their new video footage shows a virologist’s nightmare: sick and stressed animals packed closely together in filthy cages – conditions that created past pandemics and are predicted to start the next one.
Animals offered for sale include ferret-badgers and rabbits – currently under investigation by the World Health Organization (WHO) as vectors of the virus that causes COVID-19 – as well as bats, monkeys, and civet cats, who can be hosts of coronaviruses. Cages are so small that the animals cannot spread their wings or turn around, and some are shown encrusted with faecal matter. Workers display carcasses on offal- and blood-streaked countertops and handle both live animals and raw flesh without gloves.
WHO is recommending a suspension of the trade in live mammalian wild animals but ignoring the plight of chickens, ducks, fish, and frogs who live in packed, stressful cages and are slaughtered in filth. In light of these findings, PETA and its international affiliates are calling on WHO to demand the closure of live-animal markets worldwide.
“A year and a half after COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill and killed millions of humans, live-animal markets are still cesspools of filth and suffering that put the whole world at risk,” says PETA Senior Vice President Jason Baker. “PETA is calling on global leaders to shut down these markets because they could cause the next pandemic before this one is even over.”
PETA notes that outbreaks of swine flu, avian flu, HIV, foot-and-mouth disease, mad cow disease, and other illnesses have also stemmed from capturing or farming animals for food.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETAAsia.com or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.