Wet markets provide a source of livestock for customers in different climatic regions. They come to life with the crack of dawn in China and all across Asia, apart from livestock they sell spices and herbs in an open-air setting. It is more than just a market, people catch up with their families and friends here as they often run into each other. Being one of the liveliest places and affordable, it is frequently visited. The term “wet market” is believed to have originated from Singapore in the early 1970s, to distinguish these markets from the regular markets. These markets do not necessarily sell livestock and only a handful of them are known to sell exotic wild animals. Wet markets have been described in a 2019 food security study as for ensuring urban food, particularly in Chinese cities.
The term ‘wet markets’ was not popular before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. It
is believed that the virus spread through one such market, the Huanan Seafood Wholesale
market in Wuhan. In the past, numerous zoonotic diseases have spread, like bird influenza,
which was transmitted in Hong Kong infecting 18 people and killing around 6.
In 2003, a wet market in Shenzen, China caused a SARS coronavirus outbreak due to selling Himalayan palm civets 2 . There have been a plethora of outbreaks in past due to livestock, some diseases have been deadly, some diseases were curable with medicines, some like the COVID-19 still do not have a 100% effective vaccination. Since 2019, wet markets have lost heaps of business. During the Lunar New year, the wet markets are one of the most crowded places to be, but this year it was quieter than ever. Every year people buy in bulk to cook dinner at their places and enjoy the holiday with their friends and family. This year with the Coronavirus outbreak, the gatherings were not possible, which led to sales being only 10% of what was being taken home before, some families did not get anything and just did not celebrate at all.
One of the vendors in the market said that this had been the worst dip in sales in the last 30 years due to the Malaysian Government Movement Control Order (MCO) and the bad economy. Vegetable seller Tan Nai Tee, 60, said his business has been affected by a 30% drop due to the MCO 2.0 3 . The Center for Disease Control states that over half of all known infectious diseases are zoonotic in origin and that 3 out of every 4 new infectious diseases in people come from animals 4 . Wild animals are one of the greatest sources of diseases that are unknown to mankind and science. According to some theories, coronavirus was spread through bats or pangolins, the world’s most illegally trafficked animals.
Wet markets are so important to people, that post Coronavirus they will patronize it and would not let it go out of business. However, the new generation is drawn towards supermarkets and grocery stores. Many experts agree that ending the wildlife trade is of paramount importance if future pandemics are to be avoided. The international wildlife trade is a multibillion-dollar industry, with one study estimating nearly 9,000 species will be at risk of extinction due to the international trade in animals for pets, food, and medicines. Due to the pandemic, Beijing temporarily banned the trade of wildlife animals, but the main problem lies in the fact that as long as people keep demanding exotic animals, we will never be able to anticipate a pandemic, an outbreak can happen anytime.
The welfare of these animals is still a question in most places, e.g. in China, there is no set law regulating the welfare of animals, these souls are mishandled and openly slaughtered in the markets and are made to live in extremely poor conditions. It is well known that almost every year, the bird flu cases rise again, but the sad reality is that people still buy meat and chicken and continue to eat it, taste is more important than health. It ought to be noticed that welfare regulations do not compare to diminished remorselessness or languishing over creatures.
Notwithstanding the presence of evidently more grounded enactment in the United States, for example, the Federal Animal Welfare Act, cultivated animals are still to a great extent barred from insurances. The Human Slaughter Act necessitates that creatures be shocked before their throats are cut, notwithstanding, because of creation line speeds, a significant number of such stunning are messed up, bringing about the death just as awful as any at the wet market business sectors.
India has a huge market for the meat and also for some illegally procured animals like the sale of turtle meat is rampant in West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of Uttar Pradesh, according to reports. Wet markets illicitly sell wild meat and other derivatives ranging from porcupine quills to lizard oil to manta rays: all protected species by law. In India, the most important relation to this is the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 that overrides all laws before it. The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rules, 2001 states that the animal must be healthy before it is slaughtered for meat, it also insists on the isolation of animals that are suspected to be contagious. The municipal laws of various states also play in regulating the cause was under Section 415 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957 provides that no animal may be slaughtered except at a municipal or registered slaughterhouse. Section 407 of the Act provides that in localities where a municipal slaughterhouse exists, it is illegal for animals to be killed anywhere else. According to the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 it is illegal for the slaughterhouse waste to be discharged into any water body. Moreover, in the year 2019, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India mandated a food safety audit for business categorically belonging to dairy products, meat and meat products, fish and fish products and egg and egg products and food for infant nutrition.
Consequently, 24 audit agencies were outsourced to conduct such surveys through the hygiene rating method. Such laws if regulated and enforced in an automated manner will surely go a long way to ensure ecological balance in the economy. The hygiene of wet markets is certainly difficult to maintain, being in an open-are setting there is a tendency of a huge amount of moisture to be around and since there are no proper shops the conditions in which the animals are kept are very disturbing. People are still adamant about buying meat from there. From overused dirty cutting places to dirty knives people still buy even after witnessing the conditions.
In conclusion, there is a high probability of wet markets not going out of business, as even after numerous outbreaks and incurable diseases, people continue to buy goods from there and will not stop buying. To curb such issues, stricter implementation of regulations is needed.