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The Danger And Cruelty Of Live Animal Markets In India And Its Impact On Public Health

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Animal Equality presents its second study into live animal markets exposing the public health crises these markets cause, as well as the intense suffering inflicted on farmed animals

In April 2020, Animal Equality released a video of live animal markets of India exposing the dangers of live animal markets. The organisation continued its study during the pandemic and were appalled to witness that despite the dangers of live animal markets on public safety, they continue to operate unabated. The study was conducted in Pune, Mumbai, Goa, Kolkata and Delhi between July 2020 to July 2021.

Live animal markets are places where animals are transported, traded and killed without protocols for food safety, animal welfare or the health of the people involved. The study exposed how:

  • The birds are sent on rigorous journeys which last for hours, sometimes days without food or water. Many die while the rest are barely alive.
  • The live chickens are brutally pulled out in groups and weighed by hanging them upside down.
  • At the meat market chickens are crammed into small cages for hours and sometimes days without any food or water.
  • Many chickens, ducks, goats lined up for slaughter develop various infections and diseases. There is no health inspection conducted on them before slaughter.
  • The throats of the birds are slit and they are thrown into drain bins where they languish in pain for several minutes before they die.
  • The meat is prepared in the filthiest conditions.

These animals suffer not only from mistreatment, but also from a weakened immune system from the stress of their transport, confinement, and unhygienic living conditions. Add to that the many shoppers that traffic the markets, create the perfect breeding ground for animal-borne diseases that could make the jump to humans.

"Live animal markets have no place in our society and should be immediately closed. Not only are these markets extremely cruel to animals, scientific research has shown their connection to animal-borne disease outbreaks, proving they are also an immediate threat to public health and safety," says Senior Director of Public Affairs of Animal Equality, Amruta Ubale.

Ubale adds, "In India, there is no health inspection conducted before the animals are slaughtered at these markets. The Indian food safety laws prohibit meat shops from slaughtering animals. Animal Equality presented its study to the government along with a request to stop the slaughter of animals at these markets and shops."

After a report by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) jointly called for the worldwide suspension of the sale of live wild mammals in traditional markets around the world due to the high risk they pose for disease transmission to humans.

While the report calls for wild animals to be spared, the organisation states that no animal should be subjected to cruelty at live animal markets. The organisation has also delivered over half a million signatures to the UN with a request to ban the sale of all animals at the world's live animal markets.

Story first published: Wednesday, September 29, 2021, 10:00 [IST]
Read more about: animal market public health