Recently, a group of animal protection organizations and agencies wrote to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, asking him to take action and shut down the countless illegal meat and pet markets in New Delhi as a way to help stop the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wildlife Groups Appeal To Health Minister
Just this week, the People for Animals (PFA), Humane Society International/India (HSI/India), Mercy for Animals India Foundation (MFA), Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO) and Ahimsa Trust reportedly urged their Union Health Minister to take immediate action across the many markets and stores in the country that deal with illegal wildlife trades, as well as those that don’t follow the food safety guidelines, especially now that the coronavirus has grown into a global pandemic. The appeal is to stop the emergence of the coronavirus in the country and to hopefully stop it before it starts affecting more people.
“COVID-19 is said to have emerged from a meat and wildlife market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. In just a few months, the virus has infected hundreds of thousands and killed over 14,000 people world over,” the joint letter from the wildlife groups read.
“Increase in industrial slaughter and factory farming of animals, unchecked wildlife trade and crowding of various species of animals in close confinement has been an invitation to deadly epidemics. The connection is unmistakable. Let’s learn from our mistakes. We are hopeful that the Ministry of Health undertakes the suggested measures to rectify this crisis and safeguard this country’s health,” Gauri Maulekhi, a trustee in People for Animals, said.
To drive home their point, the wildlife groups pointed to the countless studies that state how three out of four emerging pathogens that affected humans in the past decade or so have come from either animals or animal products. Furthermore, a study made in Nepal also showed that raw meat sold in developing countries are more likely to be contaminated from multiple external sources, which includes handling, processing and delivering, because most of these are done by hand.
Meanwhile, the world continues to face the coronavirus pandemic.