The term “wet markets,” a meaningless pairing of words just a few months ago, is now seared into our consciousness.

This is because the Covid-19 pandemic originated in a wet market in Wuhan, China, a meat market where a bewildering array of domesticated and wild animals were stacked on top of each other in small cages, to be slaughtered on site upon purchase.

This type of market presents ideal conditions for killer, zoonotic viruses. Shoppers encounter a wide variety of stressed out animals, with feces and urine dripping onto them from the higher cages, with their blood running in open-air drains after their slaughter. Dangerous viruses and bacteria could hardly ask for more favorable conditions, more possibilities for spreading infection.

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Naturally, we support campaigns that call for banning wet markets in China and elsewhere.

Yes, elsewhere. The presence of blood-soaked wet markets is not limited to China, Asia or even the developing world.

We have them in the United States, in New York City among other places, in the form of small markets where chickens and other animals are slaughtered on site.

Jewish Veg members caring for the chickens sentenced to slaughter through the kaporos ritual in the streets of New York.

And we even have them in the Jewish community, in the form of kaporos ceremonies, at which chickens are slaughtered in open-sided tents on city streets in Brooklyn.

So before we point any fingers at the Chinese, let’s get our own house in order in the United States, and in the Jewish community. All wet markets must be banned. Immediately.

Chickens awaiting their fate on the streets of New York before the kaporos ritual.

And all of us have the purchasing power of our daily food choices to transform our food system and our ecosystem toward plant-based food.

By choosing delicious, immune-boosting plant-based food, we will move towards a pandemic-free world together.

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Plant-based eating makes a profound difference.

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