INVESTIGATION: Animal Equality Reveals China’s Wet Markets Continue to Operate


Nine months after the World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 health crisis was a pandemic, we have released a new investigation that reveals China’s wet markets are still in operation—markets where animals are slaughtered and sold to customers who desire freshly killed, and markets like those where scientists believe COVID-19 originated.

THE DETAILS: The investigation was filmed in China in the cities Wuhan, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Guilin, Nanning, and Liuzhou in May 2020 with the help of local activists. The footage reveals that despite the pandemic, live animal markets continue to sell animals such as turtles, frogs, ducks, geese, pigeons, and others, bringing together species that in nature would never live together. Experts believe this type of cross-contamination increases the risk of disease transmission to people from animal-borne diseases.

A TICKING TIME BOMB: Animal Equality points to research that warns that the abusive and unhygienic handling and transportation of animals at these markets causes the animals’ high levels of stress, which leads to the deterioration of their immune systems, making them more susceptible to diseases. That reality and the close contact humans have with animals in wet markets during slaughter and sale increases the probability of another pandemic-type virus emerging similar to COVID-19 or SARS—both zoonotic diseases originating in wet markets.

Scientific consensus finds that these markets are the perfect breeding ground for zoonosis, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75% of all new or emerging diseases in humans come from animals.

WHAT WE’RE SAYING: “The risk posed by wet and live animal markets is undeniable. Unfortunately, Asia’s wet markets are still operating despite media reports and government statements claiming otherwise. As these markets are a direct threat to human health and safety, as well as extremely cruel towards animals, it was our obligation to show the world that these markets are still in business and as such, are increasing the likelihood that another COVID-19 type virus could emerge,” said Sharon Núñez, President of Animal Equality.

PAST WORK IN ASIA: This is not the first time that Animal Equality infiltrated wet markets in Asia. In 2014 and again in early 2020, we released shocking images of wet markets in China, Vietnam, and India, which documented extreme neglect and animal cruelty within these unsanitary places. The exclusive footage was seen by millions around the world and featured by numerous media outlets, including CBS’ 60 Minutes.

WHAT YOU CAN DO: We are seeking the immediate closure of wet markets, which are not only cruel to animals but also pose a substantial risk to human health and safety. To join the more than half a million people who are asking for the same, please sign our petition! If you’ve already signed, you can still help change the world for animals by sharing this investigation so that more people will support the end of these cruel and dangerous places.


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