As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, PETA India is releasing a video compilation of our country’s live-animal markets (aka “wet markets”) and wildlife meat markets, which are filled with bodily fluids, raw meat, and sick, stressed animals. Such places operate in rampant violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972; The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960; the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Slaughter House) Rules, 2001; and/or the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
The unsanitary conditions are ideal for spreading disease, and experts believe that the novel coronavirus – which has already killed over 500,000 people worldwide – first infected humans through wildlife in a wet market in Wuhan, China, although one theory links the disease to factory-farmed pigs. PETA India is calling on authorities to close down all such live-animal and wildlife markets and follow the lead of China, where there is a plan to phase out live-poultry markets like those found throughout India, because they risk spreading disease.
The footage shows men at Ghazipur Murga Mandi in Delhi slitting live chickens’ throats, skinning the birds, and sorting through their flesh, which was soaked in blood and guts, with their bare hands. There were bags of live, struggling crabs and eels at a fish market in Malancha, West Bengal. Captured dogs were killed and sold for meat at the Keera Bazaar in Dimapur, Nagaland, and near Mao Market in Kohima, Nagaland. (Nagaland has just decided to stop dog-meat sales, but the illegal trade continues in other states.) In Manipur, sellers at the Nute Bazaar handled the charred remains of wild animals – including monkeys, wild boars, porcupines, and deer – and at the Churachandpur market, meat from various wild animals was sold.
The Next Pandemic Could Start in India
All such markets are potential breeding grounds for and opportunities to spread zoonotic diseases (diseases that jump from animals to humans). COVID-19, H5N1 bird flu, SARS, and H1N1 swine flu are among those zoonotic diseases linked back to the treatment of animals used for food. The only way to make these markets safe is to close them.
Blood, excrement, and other bodily fluids can easily get on sellers’ and customers’ shoes and be tracked into homes. As the video footage shows, workers who handle the animals often don’t wear protective gear. Flies swarm around decomposing bodies, and the countertops and floors are bloodstained from slaughtering animals.
PETA India has already written to the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare; Environment, Forest and Climate Change; and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying requesting that they close these cruel and dangerous operations immediately.
Help us shut down disease-prone Indian wet markets by signing the petition below.
The compiled signatures will be delivered to the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare; Environment, Forest and Climate Change; and Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying.
COVID-19 is widely believed to have first infected humans at a live-animal market in China through wildlife. Now China plans to phase out live-poultry markets like those found throughout India, because they risk spreading diseases such as bird flu. Yet live-animal meat and wildlife markets are operating in India, including those illegally killing dogs.
As COVID-19 continues to claim lives and upend society, it is clear that definitive action must be taken to prevent the spread of zoonotic diseases. Live-animal markets – where animals’ blood, faeces, pus, and other bodily fluids splash about and spill onto the floor – are excessively cruel and unsanitary, giving diseases the perfect opportunity to spread from other animals to humans. Sellers and buyers handle live animals and the rotting flesh of wildlife with their bare hands, and miserable, traumatised animals are forced to await their death in dirty, severely crowded cages surrounded by chaos. The only way to protect ourselves from another deadly disease outbreak is to close all live-animal markets and those selling meat from wildlife permanently.
Please use your authority to shut down live-animal, dog-meat, and wild meat markets.