For Immediate Release:
July 22, 2021
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
New York – Already in 2021, PETA Asia investigators have visited live-animal markets in China, Indonesia, Laos, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam, and their new video footage shows a virologist’s nightmare: sick and stressed animals packed closely together in filthy cages—conditions that created past pandemics and are predicted to start the next one.
Animals offered for sale include ferret-badgers and rabbits—currently under investigation by the World Health Organization (WHO) as vectors of the virus that causes COVID-19—as well as bats, monkeys, and civet cats, who can be hosts of coronaviruses. Cages are so small that the animals cannot spread their wings or turn around, and some are shown encrusted with fecal matter. Workers display carcasses on offal- and blood-streaked countertops and handle both live animals and raw flesh without gloves.
WHO is recommending a suspension of the trade in live mammalian wild animals but ignoring the plight of stressed chickens, ducks, fish, and frogs who live in packed cages and are slaughtered in filth. In light of these findings, PETA is calling on WHO to demand the closure of all live-animal markets worldwide.
“A year and a half after the emergence of COVID-19, which brought the world to a standstill and has killed over 4 million humans, live-animal markets—cesspools of filth and suffering that put the whole world at risk—are still operating,” says PETA Asia Senior Vice President Jason Baker. “PETA Asia is calling on global leaders to shut down these markets before they create COVID-21.”
PETA Asia—which has urged public health officials across Asia to close the markets—notes 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.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.