Spine-chilling videos show bats and civets kept in packed, filthy cages at wet markets despite links to Covid-19
Despite being linked to the outbreak of the coronavirus that has infected more than four million people worldwide, wet markets across several southeastern-Asian countries are not only open but thriving.
The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) captured the horrific conditions under which numerous animals are kept in such markets in China, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Thailand, and called for the countries' governments to shut them down.
In the video, live animals, including dogs, cats, bats, and monkeys, can be seen crowded together in rusty cages while rotten food and their waste covered the ground.
See the video here:
It also showed civets — linked to the outbreak of SARS — and bats — linked to the outbreak of Covid-19 — being openly sold in Indonesia. It also showed a mutilated snake curled up on a table, with its blood staining the tiles red. Cooked heads and other parts of dogs had been piled on a counter next to living animals in Vietnam while workers were cutting up pig and bird carcasses with their bare hands in the Philippines.
See another video here:
In Thailand, ducks, and chickens, linked to the avian flu, were crammed wing-to-wing in cages and barely seemed alive, and frogs were also packed against each other next to mutilated bodies of other frogs.
At multiple sites, investigators observed market-goers walking around in flip-flops on floors covered with "assorted bodily fluids" and raw flesh and touching blood-streaked countertops without gloves. In one of the clips, a rabbit convulsed and died in front of a PETA investigator.
These wet markers traditionally sell fresh produce and live animals that are butchered in the open air and are popular amongst shoppers who believe they are cheaper and fresher compared to the meat they get in supermarkets. Some also believe they can be used in medicine.
However, they are also seen as a major breeding ground for diseases, with PETA arguing, "All wet markets 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 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."
The organization's Asia division said they had written to health officials in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam to call for an end to deadly live-animal markets last month.
This past week, they called on the World Health Organization to ask its member countries to close down these markets.
"The next deadly pandemic is inevitable as long as markets filled with sick and stressed animals are still open," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said. "PETA is calling on government officials to shut down these Petri dishes for pandemics."
The United Nations has called for a global ban on wet markets but stressed that an alternative needed to be offered to the people who thrived on them. WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek suggested they needed to be improved, not shut down.