Wet markets in China have been photographed selling live turtles and frogs, despite the wild animal trade in the country largely being blamed for the COVID-19 pandemic
Chinese officials had reportedly shut down wet markets in the country, following early cases of the coronavirus being linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan. However, wet markets were allowed to resume operations as normal in mid-April.
The government in China banned the trading and selling, as well as the breeding of wild animals in February, but has yet to declare the specifications of what is considered as definitively ‘wild’.
The law has yet to become concrete as officials are taking into consideration what the Chinese public thinks should be classified as wild animals and what is defined as livestock.
As of now, 18 animals are definitively listed as ‘livestock’, thus making them exemptions from the ban, this list includes cattle, pigs, poultry and camels.
13 species of animal are being classed as “special” and will also be exempt from the wild animal ban, these include: reindeer, alpaca, pheasants, ostriches and foxes.
The completed list isn’t expected to have been finished by mid-May and until it is entirely finalised, it would seem that there are no consequences to openly trading in wild animals.
It is presumed that animals such as frogs, turtles and scorpions will be some of those prohibited animals, despite a large demand for this exotic meat from buyers.
The Chinese city of Shenzhen, a city of around 13 million people, has already implemented a historic new law preventing the consumption and trade of cats and dogs.
COVID-19 is believed to have emerged from a wet market in the city of Wuhan, the area believed to be the place of origin for the coronavirus late last year.
Wet markets traditionally sell fresh produce as well as live animals, including both fish and exotic animals, which are often killed and butchered in the open air, in front of customers and left hanging and not refrigerated.
These open-air markets are often thought to be popular with consumers who believe that products on sale are less expensive and fresher than those sold in supermarkets.
The specific wet market that is suspected to be the source of the COVID-19 disease, the Huanan Seafood Market, is yet to be reopened.
China is not the only country with these potentially deadly wet markets, as last week Breaking News Today covered a story about Indonesian wet markets selling bats, dogs and cats despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The animals were seen being sold by vendors at a wet market in northern Indonesia that is known for trading in the meat of exotic wildlife.