For Immediate Release
April 6, 2020
Priscilla Feral, president, Friends of Animals,

DARIEN, Conn– Friends of Animals is calling on the World Health Organization and the United Nations to avoid another pandemic by shuttering world wet markets where millions of wild animals are killed and sold for consumption, often for luxury tastes in exotic species.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that most of the zoonotic emerging infectious diseases of recent decades, including the present COVID-19, are linked to the wildlife trade,” Priscilla Feral wrote in a letter sent to WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. A similar letter was sent to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
“The wet markets of the world have for too long cruelly consumed millions of wild animals and endangered the health of the entire planet. And for what? So someone could dine on the flesh of an exotic animal? Why should civil society tolerate such extreme risks to satisfy self-indulgent decadence?” Feral said.

In the letter to the United Nations, Feral said Guterres’ three-point agenda described at the G-20 Virtual Summit on the COVID-19 Pandemic, was persuasive and compelling but the recovery plan must include mobilizing UN resources to persuade all UN member states of the vital need to shut down wild animal markets, and that they immediately prohibit all hunting, transport and trade of wild animals intended for human consumption as China recently did.

“We are aware that some persons will be critical of such a closure, arguing that the markets exist to fulfill an important nutritional need. This is largely untrue,” Feral said. “Particularly in Asia, the markets offer expensive exotic meats that are consumed mostly for vanity reasons such as social status or personal ego. In Africa, however, many people do visit wet markets to buy “bushmeat” for subsistence nutrition. But there are many alternatives to such unhygienic and cruel options. For example, one Friends of Animals project in Senegal is assisting people in very remote villages start community gardens that are producing wholesome alternatives to unsanitary animal proteins.”
More information on FoA’s efforts can be found here.

Friends of Animals, an international animal protection organization founded in New York in 1957 and headquartered in Darien, CT, advocates for the rights of animals, free-living and domestic around the world. Friends of Animals is proud to be a woman-founded and led organization.