For Immediate Release:

15 May 2020

World Health Organization Must Demand That Governments Shut Down Filthy Operations Where Monkeys, Dogs, Birds, and Bats Are Butchered

Sydney – As the novel coronavirus continues to infect humans around the world, PETA has just released new video footage from a PETA Asia investigation showing live-animal markets in full swing all over Asia. Despite health experts’ warnings that the virus originated in a “wet market” in Wuhan, China, such markets – some of which sell bats (who’ve been linked to COVID-19) and civets (who’ve been linked to SARS) – were filmed just recently doing robust business in Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Thailand.

In addition to live animals being crammed into cages that are stacked on top of each other and their waste covering the ground, the footage shows human sellers and customers wearing slippers as they walk across blood-soaked floors and handle pigs’ raw flesh with their bare hands. Blood and body parts cover the floors and countertops, buzzing flies swarm around the bodies of dogs and pigs, chickens and ducks destined for slaughter can barely raise their heads inside cramped cages, and mesh bags packed with live frogs are seen next to dead frogs’ cut-up bodies.

Some animals are used for meat or traditional medicines, while others are sold for their skin or even as pets. PETA is calling on the World Health Organization to act now and demand that governments close live-animal markets, and PETA Asia has dispatched letters to top officials in each of the countries where these markets are still operating, urging them to do the same.

“Blood-soaked live-animal markets filled with sick and stressed animals are known to be ripe breeding grounds for pathogens that can cross the species barrier, so why are they still open?” asks PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “Another pandemic is inevitable if we fail to learn from this one, which is why PETA is calling on the World Health Organization to take action against these cruel and dangerous operations.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview – points out that outbreaks of swine flu, avian flu, HIV, hoof-and-mouth disease, mad cow disease, and other illnesses have also stemmed from capturing or farming animals for food.

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