Over 47,000 Wild Animals Sold in Wuhan Markets Before Covid Outbreak, Study Shows
A new study published in the open-access journal Scientific Reports reveals that more than 47,000 wild animals were sold in the Chinese city of Wuhan in the two and a half years before the first confirmed Covid-19 outbreak was identified. The study provides critical new evidence that the virus could have spread naturally from animals to humans. The wild animals sold at the market included 31 protected species and were often butchered on-site, causing a plethora of health and safety risks. The animals were reportedly stored in cramped, unhygienic conditions that allow viruses to hop species and spread throughout groups of animals. Of the species sold at the market, at least four can carry the Covid-19 virus: civets, mink, badgers, and raccoon dogs.
The study published on Monday proves that a portion of the wildlife trade in Wuhan was illegal, with no enforcement of mandatory health checks. The health and origins of the animals sold were also not verified, according to the report. The extent of the findings calls into question a previous investigation conducted by the World Health Organization team that was unable to find the same information as the recently published journal despite gathering data at the same time. The WHO team visited the Huanan food market this year, stating that it found no proof of live mammals being sold at the market. The team also stated that all wildlife traded at the market was legal. The new report paints a very different picture.