Estonian animal rights activists have launched a petition, which has garnered over 5,000 signatures in its first week, calling on both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN to ban infectious animal markets, in the wake of claims that the coronavirus global pandemic's source may have been a so-called wet market in Wuhan, China.
Animal welfare organization Nahtamatud Loomad (Eng: "invisible animals") has launched the campaign jointly with European animal welfare network Anima International, to ban markets trading live wild and domestic animals in Asia and worldwide, BNS reports.
"While we cannot conclusively say that the coronavirus crisis originated from a Wuhan animal market in China, what is certain is that unsanitary animal markets are an ideal breeding ground for viruses, which scientists have long warned about; if the world does not act quickly, it is only a matter of time until a new global epidemic starts," Kristina Mering, Nahtamatud Loomad chief, said.
In addition to the risk of virus propagation, live animal markets have long been controversial due to the issue of cruelty, BNS reports.
"The view at the markets is appalling. Terrified and sick cats, dogs and exotic animals are tightly packed together for sale in dirty cages. Many suffer a long and painful death - skinning animals alive is not uncommon at the markets," Mering added.
The petition in support of the ban on animal markets is open for signatures to June 16. Nahtamatud Loomad's site (in Estonian) is here.
Editor: Andrew Whyte