We need to take measures to reduce the chances of life-threatening viruses issuing from ‘wet markets’ ever happening again.
The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, despite its name, does not sell just seafood – also available were hundreds of live animals for sale, including turtles, snakes, rats, wild cubs, as well as cats and dogs for the meat trade.
Such markets are not only present in China – they are seen all over Asia. Outside of the disease risk, these markets almost always present severe welfare issues for all the animals involved, as they watch their companions roughly handled and slaughtered for their meat.
The latest outbreak demonstrates, additionally, how cruelty and apathy towards animals is closely linked to human suffering. The illegal capture, transport, holding and slaughter of dogs and cats across Asia is simply a public health nightmare waiting to happen.
It is time that we learned our lessons. It’s time to end live markets and the dog and cat meat trade.