Ricky Gervais has said the wildlife trade and the consumption of wild animals via wet markets 'must end' if we are to avoid future crises like the current coronavirus pandemic.
Coronavirus is thought to have originated from a wet market - where live animals are slaughtered and sold alongside dead ones - in Wuhan, China, towards the end of last year. Since then it has spread globally, killing almost 150,000 people around the world at the time of writing.
Now a number of celebrities and advocacy organizations have come forward calling for an end to wet markets, which exist in countries around the world, including the US.
Now Gervais, who is vegetarian - and who some believe may be vegan - has warned that these facilities must shut, or we will likely face further pandemics.
He told The Mirror: "For the sake of people and animals, wildlife trade and consumption has to end, now.
"We can't carry on exploiting animals, eating wildlife and trashing the planet. The wildlife trade and markets have to close, otherwise it will be a case of when, and not if, we have another global pandemic.
"How bad does this have to get before you close down Indonesia’s extreme animal markets that pose the exact same risk as the wildlife wet markets in Wuhan, China?"
Gervais joins a growing chorus of voices demanding an end to this trade: animal rights charity PETA has petitioned the World Health Organisation asking for its help in shutting down these markets
PETA describes live animal markets as the 'perfect breeding grounds for diseases' as 'stressed, injured, and sickly animals are commonly caged in public areas and on sidewalks – where feces, blood, and offal can contaminate buyers and sellers and be tracked into restaurants or homes'.
"The next pandemic is right around the corner as long as sick and stressed animals are crowded together in blood-soaked meat markets," PETA founder, Ingrid Newkirk, said. "PETA is calling on the World Health Organisation to help shut down these dangerous operations, whether they're killing chickens in New York or cats in Indonesia."