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NOTHING HAD CHANGED WHEN WE RETURNED

In collaboration with local activists, we returned to the places where it's believed COVID-19 began: China’s live animal markets.

Our team determined that it was important to monitor the situation within the country's wet markets to find out if anything had really changed, as many media outlets repeatedly announced. We had an obligation to the more than half a million people who had already signed our petition to end these markets — places where humans come into contact with wild and farmed animals, creating breeding grounds for emerging zoonotic diseases. We had to return to these live animal markets to report the truth and we did so with the help of local activists.

This is not the first time our investigators have infiltrated these markets where living and dead, wild and domestic animals are sold for consumption. Between 2014 and 2019, we captured shocking images of animal cruelty in wet markets in China, Vietnam, and India.

The footage we were able to capture when we returned to China reveals that the threat to public health and safety continues. Despite the pandemic that has changed our lives as we know it, these sites (where COVID-19 is believed to have originated) are still open to the public and continue to trade and kill a wide range of animal species.

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WET MARKETS, APRIL 2020

An Immediate Threat to Public Health

Animal Equality has launched a worldwide campaign and petition calling for the immediate closure of wet markets across the globe. Wet markets get their name in part from the blood, guts, scales and water that soak the stalls’ floors, remnants of animals brutally killed so customers can eat freshly killed meat.

In exclusive footage shot by Animal Equality at wet markets in China, Vietnam and India, animals such as deer, raccoons, crocodiles, and dogs are shown living in filthy conditions, suffering from dehydration, starvation and disease.

These markets are also a threat to public health and have been the source of documented disease outbreaks in the past, including SARS. Researchers also believe COVID-19 most likely originated from a wet market notorious for trading in wild animals in Wuhan, China.

It is because of the public health crises wet markets cause, as well as the intense suffering inflicted on farmed animals, that Animal Equality is urging the United Nations to demand a ban on all wet markets. Not only do these markets pose an immediate danger to humans, they are also intensely cruel to animals.

3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in people come from animals REPORT ON ZOONOTIC DISEASES, CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION
If you take wild animals and you put them into a market with domestic animals or other animals, where there's an opportunity for a virus to jump species, you are creating … a superhighway for viruses to go from the wild into people. We can't do this anymore. We can't tolerate this anymore. I want the wild animal markets closed.
DR. IAN LIPKIN, Infectious Disease Expert
The animals have been transported over large distances and are crammed together into cages. They are stressed and immunosuppressed and excreting whatever pathogens they have in them. With people in large numbers in the market and in intimate contact with the body fluids of these animals, you have an ideal mixing bowl for [disease] emergence.
PROF. ANDREW CUNNINGHAM, The Zoological Society of London

Ending
Animal Cruelty Worldwide

Animal Equality is an international organisation working with society, governments, and companies to end cruelty to farmed animals. Our investigations are the most important work we do and have helped millions of animals.