The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged China to ban the sale of wild live animals in so-called “wet markets” because they could cause another pandemic. The damming document released on Tuesday issued a stern warning to Beijing but did not specifically mention the wet market in Wuhan where many believe the coronavirus started. The document outlined how wild animals are the source of “more than 70 percent” of all emerging diseases in humans and called for an immediate ban on their sale.
In a statement the WHO took aim at wet markets in China where anything from live wild turtles, dogs, feral cats, snakes, rats, bats and crocodiles can be purchased.
The WHO said: “Animals, particularly wild animals, are the source of more than 70 percent of all emerging infectious diseases in humans, many of which are caused by novel viruses.
“Wild mammals, in particular, pose a risk for the emergence of new diseases.”
The damming statement went on, saying: “Traditional markets, where live animals are held, slaughtered and dressed, pose a particular risk for pathogen transmission to workers and customers alike.”
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The new document is to provide guidance “to reduce the risk of transmission of Covid-19 and other zoonoses in traditional food markets” but did not specifically label Wuhan’s wet market as a place where covid started.
The document added: “When wild animals are kept in cages or pens, slaughtered and dressed in open market areas, these areas become contaminated with body fluids, faeces and other waste.
The new guidance was put together with the help of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
The document explained how this “increases the risk of transmission of pathogens” to workers and customers and potentially resulting in “spillover of pathogens to other animals in the market.”
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WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said: “COVID-19 has brought new attention to this threat, given the magnitude of its consequences.”
Last month the WHO produced a report which concluded it is ‘extremely unlikely’ that coronavirus, which has killed millions across the world, originated in a lab in China.
The report added: “There is no record of viruses closely related to Sars-CoV-2 in any laboratory before December 2019, or genomes that in combination could provide a Sars-CoV-2 genome… and therefore the risk of accidental culturing Sars-CoV-2 in the [Wuhan] laboratory is extremely low.”
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said prior to the report being seen: “We’ve got real concerns about the methodology and the process that went into that report, including the fact that the government in Beijing apparently helped to write it.”
Speaking to talkRADIO furious Tory Peer Lord Ridley said the WHO report was “a pure whitewash.”
He added: “Members of the (WHO) investigation were agreed by Chinese authorities, they relied on Chinese scientists work, they didn’t do any work themselves.”
Lord Ridley went on to emphasise how WHO officials “were heavily chaperoned” by Chinese state officials and allegedly “did not ask very searching questions while they were there.”
And he concluded: “So we were expecting a whitewash and a whitewash is what we’ve got.”