Shocking image of bats for sale in Indonesia shows wet markets are still open

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Since I started writing about the urgent need to close the live animal markets, I have been surprised by the support I have received from across the UK.

Readers of The Mail on Sunday have written to say how much they agree with the threat of contagion they represent and to offer ideas on how we can bring about an absolute crackdown on this vile business.

Others simply expressed disbelief. “For the love of heaven,” wrote one woman in an email, “what pandemic are they going to give the world next? “

Tomohon’s market bats are Indonesia’s best kept secret, but the photo revealed on this page still has the power to shock.

The local complacency “it can’t happen here” over a viral disease is dangerously out of place.

Bats carry all kinds of viruses and pathogens. There are even reports that local authorities found another strain of coronavirus in Tomohon bats in 2018.

Bats, dogs, rats and reptiles for sale on the market in Tomohon Indonesia March 28, 2020

Bats, dogs, rats and reptiles for sale on the market in Tomohon Indonesia March 28, 2020

As we all know, it is likely that Covid-19 emerged from a bat in Wuhan’s “seafood” market. How much more warning do we need?

The coronavirus that has devastated the global economy and caused nearly 200,000 recorded deaths is likely due to poor hygiene in an illegal wildlife market. His replicas will be felt for years.

This is what makes the picture here of a dirty market with stacked animal carcasses all the more horrible.

Experts predict that humanity’s ever-increasing encroachment and exploitation of the natural world has made zoonotic diseases four times more common in the past 50 years.

Many have called aberration in recent months, but the truth is that we risk becoming the new standard. The Independent, which I partly own, shares this concern and has launched a campaign to ban illegal trade in wildlife wherever it occurs.

A food market shows rows of rows of dead animals, some of which have been beaten to death, including bats

A food market shows rows of rows of dead animals, some of which were beaten to death, including bats

We work with wildlife charities such as Space For Giants and other organizations to educate the public and lobby governments if necessary.

It is simply astounding that, even if the world is grappling with the fallout from this deadly pandemic, these markets can remain open in Indonesia and throughout China and Southeast Asia, reports say.

Before, it was an animal rights issue and a question for international wildlife experts.

Now, this is a global health crisis and a threat to all of us. The world did not respond to the 2002 SARS epidemic, which also came from a wildlife market. We cannot make the same mistake again.

The voices behind this campaign are getting louder and louder. I call for urgent international action on wet wildlife markets. The Australian government agrees and called for multilateral action on Thursday, citing markets as a “biosafety and human health risk”.

Given the clear support of the public, including readers of The Mail on Sunday, for such measures, the British government should follow suit.

It is only through international cooperation and the application of existing prohibitions that this threat can be overcome. After this pandemic, we have the opportunity to redesign our relationships with the animal world. Or, we can sit back and wait for the next outbreak.

An Indonesian woman (R) wears a handmade protective mask when buying beef on a temporary meat market before Ramadan in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, April 23, 202020

An Indonesian woman (R) wears a handmade protective mask when buying beef on a temporary meat market before Ramadan in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, April 23, 202020

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