Protesters to World Health Organization: ‘Do Your Job! Help Close Wet Markets’

For Immediate Release:
20 May 2020

Sascha Camilli +44 (0) 20 7923 6244; [email protected]


Hazmat-Clad Campaigners Urge Agency to Prevent the Spread of Animal-Borne Diseases by Helping to Ban Live-Animal Markets

 Copenhagen  As the coronavirus pandemic continues to sweep the globe, protesters wearing hazmat suits swarmed the Copenhagen office of the World Health Organization (WHO) today, while observing social-distancing guidelines, to call on the agency to do its job and help close down cruel and dangerous live-animal markets worldwide. The action, a joint effort by animal protection groups PETA, Dyrenes Alliance, and Anima, comes just days after WHO announced that live-animal markets – despite being responsible for the current pandemic and posing a threat of future ones – should not be shut down.


Photos from the action are also available here, and here.

“Filthy live-animal markets must be closed for the sake of every species sold and slaughtered there – and the survival of the human species,” says PETA Director Elisa Allen. “WHO must urgently change its tune and help shut down these Petri dishes for pandemics now.”

Deadly outbreaks of mad cow disease, avian flu, swine flu, SARS, HIV, foot-and-mouth disease, and other zoonotic diseases have stemmed from capturing or farming animals for food. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recent infectious diseases affecting humans began in animals. At live-animal markets, cages are stacked on top of each other and the animals at the bottom are soaked in excrement, pus, and blood – creating ideal conditions for viruses to spread to humans. Video footage recently released by PETA shows that these bloody, filthy markets are still open, despite the pandemic. They currently operate throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, and the US.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit