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Unregulated 'Wet Markets' Are Deadly

asian wet market
(Edmund Lowe/Dreamstime)

By Wednesday, 01 April 2020 05:54 AM Current | Bio | Archive

As the world gets smaller and populations travel with speed globally, it's time that the international community focus on domestic food laws in countries like China — and others— who are not living up to the standards of health, safety, and welfare with respect to their own populations, as well as those beyond their borders.

The current COVID-19 crisis was borne out of people who worked and shopped at a "wet market" in Wuhan, China. A wet market sells live and dead animals — including fish, birds, badgers, bats, pangolins (scaly anteaters), and turtles — for human consumption.

These markets are wet. Water splashes over the sides of open tubs filled with live sea animals who will eventually be killed.

Countertops and floors in such places are streaked red: with the insides of gutted fish and slaughtered animals’ blood.

China is notorious for lack of hygiene and government oversight of their domestic wet marketplaces. There are separate rules for the export of food commodities and those for local consumption.

The problem with their duplicity is that it neither keeps their people, or anyone else, beyond their borders.

In recent years we have seen an alarming uptick in deadly viruses emerging from human contact with live animals.

The deadliest viruses emerged from human contact with live animals:

Asian Flu: 1957-1958 2,000,000 dead. Mutation in wild ducks

SARS: 2002-2003 800 dead. Wild animals – bats, civet cats

H5N1 Bird Flu: 1997 415 dead. Chinese geese

H7N9 Bird Flu: 2013 616 dead. Transmitted to humans by infected poultry at a live bird market.

(Source: The World Health Organization (WHO).

China’s domestic exotic and traditional live food demands and customs represent a direct threat to the health, safety and welfare—globally.

We cannot permit China’s domestic actions and inactions to threaten the world health and its economy.

National Geographic reports that the government allows 54 wild species to be bred on farms and sold for consumption. This includes minks, ostriches, hamsters, snapping turtles, and Siamese crocodiles. Many wild animals, like snakes and birds of prey, are poached and brought to state-licensed farms. This is according to Zhou Jinfeng, secretary-general of the China Biodiversity Conservation and Green Development Foundation. The foundaton is a non-governmental organization (NGO) in Beijing that helped with a bird rescue in September. Zhou claims some farmers claim that their animals were bred legally in captivity for conservation but then sell them to markets or collectors.

It’s unknown how many live wildlife markets exist in China, but experts estimate they could number in the hundreds. Some department and big-box stores also sell wild meat and live amphibians for consumption. For market buyers, frogs are a common and inexpensive wildlife dish, says Peter Li, China policy specialist at Humane Society International and professor in East Asian politics at the University of Houston-Downtown.

On the high end, Li says, only the rich can afford soup made with palm civet (a cat-size mammal native to jungles throughout Southeast Asia), fried cobra, or braised bear paw.

Such food was not part of Li’s experience growing up. "My parents never cooked wild animals, and [we’ve] never eaten them. I’ve never had snake — much less cobra."

China is a dictatorship. They could end wet markets tomorrow if they wanted. The fact they allow them to exist is unconscionable. China has no regard for the individual. It's all about the perpetuation of the state. Their selfishness is evident in their environmental policy, pollution, lack of food safety, religious freedom and human rights violations — to name just a few.

When China’s domestic governance threatens the world that is when the internatioonal community needs to change China’s domestic policies. The United States is the country now most effected by COVID-19.  We must demand China make institutional changes in their domestic food safety policies; such policies, as they exist now, threaten the world via pandemics.

How many more animal borne-influenzas must we be victims of before we demand China and others stop their behavior causing it?

China cannot be trusted.

We must form an international coalition to investigate China’s food safety and health protocols, reporting, and prevention. We must also call for the immediate closures of all wet markets, as well as demand the severest of penalties for those who deal with the sale of wild animals known to spread illnesses.

Bradley Blakeman was a member of President George W. Bush's senior White House staff from 2001 to 2004. He is also a frequent contributor to Fox News and Fox Business Channel. He currently is a Principal with the 1600group.com a consulting company. — Click Here Now.

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BradleyBlakeman
China cannot be trusted. We must form an international coalition to investigate China’s food safety and health protocols, reporting, and prevention.
borders, wild, animals, covid
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2020-54-01
Wednesday, 01 April 2020 05:54 AM
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