Global crisis fails to prevent animal abuse at wet markets

Yvonne O'Halloran

While countries around the world begin to ease lockdown, the tragedy of the pandemic remains. Months of social isolation and restrictions on movement have shown the willingness to adapt to a ‘new normal’. However, the collective effort seems to have missed a key factor for virus prevention- we must also reevaluate our treatment of animals.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reversed a ban on cruel wet markets, despite warnings that close contact with animals in unsanitary conditions risks breeding the next pandemic.

Following this, a video has emerged showing wet markets in Vietnam with frightening footage. The video shows frogs having their legs cut off with scissors while the skinned bodies of dogs lay on market tables. Another clip shows a live fish being quartered and turtles desperately trying to escape from cages. Both live and dead animals remain out in the open for hours, picking up diseases and making the spread to humans likely. You can watch the video here. Warning- it contains graphic content.

Worst still, these markets remained in operation throughout the countries two month lockdown. The video is believed to have been filmed during February or March, a time when the government had closed borders and shut schools to contain Coronavirus.

Business continued in Vietnam despite neighbouring China, the epicentre of the virus, and the place COVID-19 is believed to have originated through bat to human transmission at Wuhan’s very own wet market.

Recent action by the WHO to withdraw its support of a global ban on wet markets shows the contempt for animal suffering, having a fatal knock-on effect for humans. Open Cages CEO Connor Jackson has criticised the decision, stating:  “When will we learn? We cannot leave animal well-being and the safety of humanity in the hands of ineffective regulations. The world is watching and waiting for a plan from the World Health Organization: when will these markets be closed?”

At a time when protecting human life is paramount, keeping wet markets in operation poses a huge risk to human health and threatens another devastating pandemic.

| Article by Martha Moody- United Kingdom

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