Cars and people queue-up at the main entrances of wetmarkets, which have stirred back to “life” following a lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Some countries announced a temporary ban, but they are full of wetmarkets still in operation. Wetmarkets, slaughterhouses, intensive farming practices and the wildlife trade are the sources of zoonotic diseases – diseases that originate in animals that then cross-species to infect humans. SARS, Mers, Mad Cow Disease, Bird Flu, Swine Flu and COVID-19 – all caused by the close contact and consumption of infected animals. The UN found that 70% of human diseases originate in animals, animals often used for food and the source of 2.7 million deaths a year.
Despite the fact we are still in the middle of a pandemic, wetmarkets around the world are still operating when they should be shut down. China has taken steps and has banned all wildlife consumption in Wuhan. Pangolin scales have been officially removed from the Traditional Chinese Medicine ingredient list and cats and dogs delisted from the food animal list. That’s some of the good news for animals that have resulted from this pandemic but there’s so much more that needs to be done. Pet abuse and abandonment has been on a steep rise since the pandemic started. Many domestic animals are feeling the wrath as stress levels rise amongst the unemployed, which has skyrocketed as many businesses close. Domestic violence and mental health issues are also leading to more animal abuse.
Actions You Can Take
The most profound actions you can take are your food and lifestyle choices. First and foremost, avoid wildlife consumption and move towards a plant-based diet. Also ensure the products and clothes you buy do not contain animal ingredients such as fur, down, and wool. Many cosmetics and medicines also contain animal by-products so read the labels carefully and support ethical companies that do not test on animals.
Below are positions and organizations you can report issues to:
- Sign the petition to ask Canada’s government to stop the cruel and dangerous wildlife trade.
- Take PETA’s urgent action to shut down live animal markets.
- Sign Animal Equality’s Petition to ask the UN to ban wet markets.
- Check out the Change.org Campaign to Ban Wet Markets.
- Report illegal wildlife trade, poaching and hunting.
- Report sanitary conditions to the Food and Inspection Agency.
- Any other animal abuse should be reported to The Ministry of the Solicitor General.
- Since the withdrawal of enforcement by the OSPCA, Crime Stoppers added an Animal Abuse section for reporting anonymously.