The United Nations is being urged to ban wet markets around the world, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood that the coronavirus originated from a wet market - where live animals are kept and slaughtered in close proximity to dead ones - in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Since then, the virus has spread, killing more than 47,000 people at the time of writing.
Now animal protection agency has launched a worldwide campaign and petition calling for the immediate closure of wet markets across the globe, saying these markets 'pose an immediate danger to humans and are also intensely cruel to animals'.
According to Animal Equality: "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."
Animal Equality has created a video - voiced by Plant Based News co-founder Robbie Lockie - featuring this footage.
'A threat to public health'
"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," said Animal Equality.
"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."
Infectious Disease Expert, Dr. Ian Lipkin, is supporting the campaign. He added: "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."
You can find out more about the campaign - and sign the petition - here