Update: 13 April 2021
The first domino has fallen! Since the start of the pandemic, PETA affiliates have pushed the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for the closure of live-animal markets worldwide. Well, it’s now happening: WHO is urging countries to suspend the sale of live wild mammals in food markets as an emergency measure, saying that wild animals are a leading cause of emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19. We told you that a year ago!
This is a good start but does nothing to stop frogs, snakes, chickens, and others from being sold, even though confining and killing them in filthy live-animal markets also contributes to the spread of disease. As long as live-animal markets remain open and any animal is sold, intelligent and sensitive beings will continue to suffer and humans will be at enormous risk.
Thank you to everyone who took action below – please keep going: share this alert with your friends and family and anyone else you know until WHO calls for the closure of all live-animal markets.
The novel coronavirus – which experts believe began in a wet market in Wuhan, China – has killed over 3 million humans worldwide. Why on Earth are these markets still open?
After releasing footage inside “” (also called “live-animal markets”) in Indonesia and Thailand in early April – months after the COVID-19 outbreak began – PETA Asia 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 just days ago, takes viewers inside live-animal markets in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, where chickens, ducks, fish, and dogs as well as bats, monkeys, and other exotic animals were sold.
Terrified live animals, bloody carcasses, and rotting flesh were all being peddled. At multiple sites, investigators observed marketgoers walking around in flip-flops on floors covered with bodily fluids and handling raw flesh and touching blood-streaked countertops without gloves on. At two other markets, civets and bats were sold for food – even though they’re a reservoir species for severe acute respiratory syndrome (commonly known as SARS), another infamous disease caused by a coronavirus.
Blood and Rotting Flesh Everywhere
Weeks before, PETA Asia investigators visited , shocked, even back then, that any were still operating. At the Tomohon Market in Indonesia, 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, PETA Asia’s investigator saw mesh bags jam-packed with live, frightened frogs (some of whom use trees as “drums” to send messages to one another) being plonked down next to the mutilated bodies of other slaughtered frogs.
Live Chickens Forced to Share Space With Their Dead Companions
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 are potential breeding grounds for zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19, SARS, and bird flu. At such markets, faeces 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 Asia has written to health officials in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam to call for an end to deadly live-animal markets.
Shutting down foreign wet markets isn’t good enough. To prevent more diseases like COVID-19, we must do more than crack down on these markets only in certain areas of the world. All live-animal markets must go, including those that operate in India.
Since PETA Asia released the initial footage on April 8, more than 130,000 people have signed an action alert urging the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for an end to deadly live-animal markets around the globe. More than 60 bipartisan congressional US lawmakers wrote a similar letter to WHO urging the agency to request the closure of such markets immediately. And 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 WHO to call for the closure of all live-animal markets worldwide.