PETA has released horror footage – captured just last month – of bustling food stalls in Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines, and Thailand.
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It shows people wearing slippers walking across across blood-soaked floors and others handling raw pig flesh with their bare hands as coronavirus continues to ravage the world.
Live animals – including dogs, cats, bats, and monkeys – can be seen crammed into rusty stacked cages while their waste covers the ground.
The video shows live civets – linked to SARS – and bats – linked to COVID-19 – being openly sold in Indonesia.
Monkeys, birds, and cats covered with layers of rotten food and faeces are also seen for sale.
In one clip a rabbit is seen convulsing and dying in front of one of PETA's investigators.
In Thailand, ducks and chickens – linked to avian flu – were seen crammed wing-to-wing in cages.
While in the Philippines, workers wearing flip-flops walked across blood-soaked floors and cut up pig and bird carcasses with their bare hands.
In Vietnam, the cooked heads and other body parts of dogs were piled on a counter next to living animals.
Blood and guts cover floors and countertops, buzzing flies swarm around the bodies of dogs and pigs, while chickens and ducks destined for slaughter seem barely alive.
Mesh bags packed with live frogs can be seen next to dead frogs' butchered bodies.
While some of the animals will be eaten others will be killed and used in traditional medicines.
It’s believed coronavirus – which has so far left more than 300,000 people dead – originated in one of the markets in China.
The country controversially reopened its wet markets in March after a two-month lockdown.
The Wuhan Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was shut down in January after it was linked to multiple deaths nearby.
Wet markets traditionally sell fresh produce and live animals, such as fish and exotic animals, which are butchered in the open air.
They tend to be popular with shoppers who believe the items on sale are cheaper and fresher than in supermarkets but they are poorly regulated.
They are seen as a breeding grounds for diseases, which can jump from the animals to humans.
The United Nations has called for a global ban on wet markets, but said alternatives need to be offered to local people.
PETA is using the footage to renew its call on the World Health Organization to urge the closure of live-animal markets worldwide
“The next deadly pandemic is inevitable as long as markets filled with sick and stressed animals are still open,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk.
“PETA is calling on government officials to shut down these Petri dishes for pandemics.”
It has called on the health ministers of China, Indonesia, Thailand, and other Asian countries to close the outdated markets there, but it has yet to receive a response from any of them.
The latest effort comes after WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek said that although a live animal market likely played a role in the outbreak, they needed to be improved, not shut down.
During a press briefing last week, he said such markets provide food and jobs for millions of people around the world and that improving hygiene and food safety standards could reduce the risk of disease transmission
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