Notorious Wet Market In Indonesia Still Open Despite Coronavirus Fears
WARNING: DISTRESSING CONTENT
Tomohon Market in Sulawesi, Indonesia, is famous around the world for vendors who sell animals such as dogs, cats and bats, and there are concerns that a similar market in the Chinese city of Wuhan is linked to the virus.
The animal rights organisation claims to have visited the market in April and saw that 'the flesh of wild boars, snakes, dogs, and rats... were openly sold at the market'.
PETA also claimed: "Gloveless workers and customers were seen handling the body parts of animals who had been killed on site."
Some experts believe that the virus could have been passed humans via pathogens found in wet markets in Wuhan.
As well as being a delicacy in certain parts of China, bats are traditionally made into a curry-like dish called Paniki that is eaten by the Minahasan people who live on Sulawesi island.
This dish involves using the whole bat, including the wings and the head.
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One Indonesian cookbook author and culinary expert, William W. Wongso, also told The Sun: "Bats are the favourite indigenous protein, particularly in North Sulawesi.
"My favourite part is the wings."
There have been repeated calls to close the markets down and end the practice altogether from governments, animal rights organisations, and - more recently - comedian and notable animal lover Ricky Gervais.
The 58-year-old was confronted with pictures of the trade in practice by The Mirror, and said: "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?"
Doctor Richard S. Ostfeld, an ecologist and senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, recently outlined the danger posed by such markets in an interview with The Independent.
He said: "The risk of a zoonotic virus jumping to people is mostly tied to excretions from infected wildlife, including saliva, urine and faeces.
"It is also possible that transmission can occur in the killing and butchering of the animals. Consuming cooked meat, whether of wildlife or livestock, does not pose the same risk.
"The health risk is in the housing of various species of wildlife, which don't co-occur in nature, in very close quarters and in unhygienic conditions.
"Under these conditions, animals are stressed and shedding pathogens, which can be easily transmitted to other animals and to people."
Featured Image Credit: PA