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Exposé: Suffering and Disease in Asian Live-Animal Markets

In 2021 – over a year after the COVID-19 outbreak began – PETA Asia investigators visited live-animal markets in China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos, and Sri Lanka. Customers can buy both living and dead animals at these markets. 

PETA Asia’s new footage shows chickens, bats, monkeys, civet cats, and other animals, both dead and alive, on sale for food or to be used in traditional medicine, in entertainment, or in other ways. Carcasses were displayed on blood-streaked countertops, and both live animals and raw flesh were handled without gloves. These markets are cesspools of filth.

The World Has Changed, but Live-Animal Markets Haven’t

Conditions were nearly identical to those documented in two previous PETA Asia investigations into these markets. Sick and stressed animals of uncertain origin were packed closely together in stressful environments. Chickens, personable animals who enjoy socialising, didn’t even have enough space to spread their wings, and larger animals such as a macaque and a caracal cat, animals who roam far and wide in nature, had barely enough space to turn around in. Some cages had faeces encrusted at the bottom, and stacking them up facilitated the spread of disease. Dead squirrels, civet cats, bats, birds, and rats were sold in open-air markets without any apparent hygiene protocols. 

Civet cat sold for food at live animal market

An investigator was told that customers could purchase the flesh of bats and monkeys purportedly for medicinal purposes. 

Monkeys at live animal market

The Risks Are Real

Most scientists are convinced that the coronavirus originated in a live-animal market in China, where animals of a wide range of species are sold alongside dead animals and produce.

Dead dog at live animal market

Although the World Health Organization (WHO) is investigating live rabbits, bats, civet cats, and ferret badgers as carriers of the virus that causes COVID-19, all are still offered for sale. Deadly outbreaks of mad cow disease, avian flu, swine flu, SARS, HIV, and more have all stemmed from capturing animals in nature or farming them for food.

Animals next to each other at live animal market

The Horrors Must End

Just as we don’t want to be infected with the coronavirus or die of COVID-19, other animals don’t want to suffer or be killed for food. Most of us dislike being quarantined in our homes, yet billions of animals who are exploited for food spend their entire lives in small, cramped, filthy spaces, unable to turn around or stand up and suffering from respiratory diseases caused by living amid their own waste. Their only escape is when their throats are slit and their bodies dismembered, often while they’re still conscious.

Dead animal at live animal market

All live-animal markets must go, including the hundreds that operate right here in the UK. PETA is urging WHO to take the most fundamental step and shut down these markets. PETA Asia has written to health officials throughout Asia to demand that the disgusting live-animal markets be closed.

Join PETA in urging the World Health Organization to call for an end to all deadly live-animal markets around the globe.

Do your part right now to help prevent the next global pandemic by dumping meat, eggs, and dairy. The only truly sustainable and ethical way to live is vegan.

Update: 13 April 2021

The first domino has fallen! Since the start of the pandemic, PETA has pushed the World Health Organization (WHO) to call for the closure of live-animal markets worldwide. Over 380,000 supporters of PETA and our international affiliates have contacted WHO, and it’s now happening: WHO is urging countries to suspend the sale of live mammalian wild animals 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.

World Health Organization

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