New Delhi: By now, all of us know that a wet market in China’s Wuhan called the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, has been touted as the possible source of the deadly COVID-19, which has unleashed terror on the world.Also Read - WHO Says It's Ok to Keep Wet Markets Open Despite Their Possible Role in Covid-19 Spread

However, several such wet markets, that have the potential to trigger the next pandemic, have been operating in different parts of the world including India.

What is a Wet market?

Notably, wet markets are the markets where water and ice are used to keep the meat of slaughtered animals fresh. As per PETA, these live-animal markets are essentially blood-soaked slaughterhouses where the public can choose live animals, such as chickens, rabbits, fish, dogs who are then slaughtered while the customer waits.

Apart from this absolute barbarism, these animals are kept in cramped, and filthy cages, while being denied food and water.

India too has many such live-animal markets and wildlife meat markets, which are filled with bodily fluids, raw meat, and sick, stressed animals. Experts believe that these unsanitary conditions are potential breeding grounds for the spread of zoonotic diseases and could bring another pandemic like coronavirus.

Where are these wet markets in India?

Ghazipur Murga Mandi in Delhi, Malancha fish market in West Bengal, Keera Bazaar and Mao dog meat markets in Nagaland, Nute Bazaar in Manipur are the most notable wet markets in India which operate under extremely unhygienic conditions.

Besides, the sale of turtle meat is rampant in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh, according to Down to Earth report. These establishments, just like China’s live markets, are ill-famed for being unhygienic and cruel to animals–a recipe for disaster.

A YouTube video by PETA showed how men at Ghazipur Murga Mandi in Delhi slit live chickens’ throats, skin the birds soaked in blood and guts with their bare hands. Further, the sale of live crabs and eels in Malancha and sale of dog meat in Nagaland are other causes of concern. In addition, sellers at Manipur’s Nute Bazaar openly sell the charred remains of wild animals including monkeys, wild boars, porcupines, and deer.

What’s the solution?

Time and again, PETA India has called on authorities to close down all such cruel and dangerous operations in the country. Not to forget, many such places operate in rampant violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, and the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

Since 2016, animal rights activists, epidemiologists and public health advocates across the world have also demanded the closure of such markets in order to prevent the transmission and spread of infectious diseases, but to no avail. Well, the time is running out!