How the Horrific Treatment of Live Animals at a Wuhan Wildlife Market in China Led to Spread of Coronavirus

Chinese Wildlife Market

In a highly informational video essay for Vox, producer Sam Ellis explains how and why COVID-19 and other pandemical viruses specifically originate in China. Scientists have postulated that Coronavirus was transmitted from a bat to a pangolin and then eaten by a human. These three unrelated species “met” at an illicit Chinese “wet” market .

The law in China allows for the farming and selling of wild animals in open markets. The animals in these markets are stacked on top of each other in horrifically inhumane conditions and cross-contamination is inevitable. In addition to these legal markets, there is an illicit, equally horrific animal trade of exotic animals such as rhinoceros, pangolin and big cats. These animals are cultivated for their curative qualities and marketed to the wealthy segment of the population. This trade not only leads to the endangerment of certain species but brings their own set of risky viruses with them.

Both SARS and COVID-19 are in the “coronavirus” family, and both appear to have emerged from animals in China’s notorious wildlife markets. Experts had long predicted that these markets, known to be potential sources of disease, would enable another outbreak. The markets, and the wildlife trade that supports them, are the underlying problem of these pandemics; until China solves that problem, more are likely to emerge.

Chinese Wet Market

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.