In Understanding Chinese Wet Markets article I will try to relay what I understand from studying this topic, (Understanding Chinese Wet Markets).
Journalist goes undercover at “wet markets”, where the Coronavirus started | 60 Minutes Australia
What is a Chinese Wet Market?
First of all, a short explanation of this is that a wet market is simply an open-air meat market. In China, these are usually in the open with either a tarp over the stalls or some kind of tin metal roof (think temporary shed kind of thing).
The Chinese Culture
Secondly, place this open-air meat in the Chinese culture. People in China want natural remedies (Traditional Chinese Medicine) to their problems big time, so this meat market ties in highly with animals that have mythical or rumored help with certain diseases.
Here we need to also insert the fact that the typical Chinese purchaser of these products can be very finicky at times. They want to see the animal alive and slaughtered in front of them.
So what makes these wet markets so dangerous is that live animals are kept along with, beside, (cages of live animals over the dead meat of animals for consumption). The live animals are not clean, and they contaminate the meat of butchered animals. So this is an unclean practice among butchers.
Let me just say from my experience and understanding of working in a meat market part of my life, a public slaughterhouse is a government-paid public servant that actually kills live animals before they are butchered. These government inspectors kill these animals and inspect them before they are sent to butchers that cut them up.
The procedure is thusly, they kill the animal and slice it open, and examine its internal organs for tumors or disease. The whole point of having a public slaughterhouse is to take away the decision-making process for the animal’s owner. Why? Because if a pig is eaten up with some disease, the owner will never want to just destroy it and take the loss. He will cut what he cannot sell off and throw that away or feed it back to good animals to contaminate them. So a public servant makes that decision and then disposes of the animal by usually burning the diseased animal.
Note: Remember the Mad Cow Disease? The key point in that is that farmers don’t want to lose capital or money, so they take diseased animals and kill them only when forced to, and many will feed the dead diseased animal back to the healthy animals to infect them with the disease.
So when you circumvent this public slaughterhouse, you are going to make a system that lets diseased animals into the public arena for consumption. That is the problem here. Wet markets specifically have this issue and that is why people object to them. (Others want wet markets because of the seeing before killing and buying element.)
The Chinese Government and laws of Communist China
Thirdy, factor in the Chinese government. They have been pressured against the selling of rare and endangered species in these markets. More about this below.
Why do they sell bats in Chinese wet markets?
Okay, so from what I understand, not a whole lot of the 1.5 billion Chinese eat bats. Even among them, most Chinese would be as grossed out by this as a typical American. But these naturalist nuts over there and elsewhere want weird animals for some medical reason.
But all of these non-typical animals have to do with Chinese culture and this belief that these animals grant the consumer of their flesh some benefit.
The Chinese government has dealt with the wet markets and shut them down at some time in the past. But besides the common naturalist poor man nuts, there are others that are rich people, and they also enter here to buy endangered species for the same reason. So they have sold tigers, cougars, and other endangered animals. They pay really big bucks for these exotic animals. Again, the price is more if the animal is alive and they slaughter the animal before the eyes of the purchaser.
So the Chinese government prohibited these markets from dealing with these rare exotic animals, and from having any live animals on the premises.
But the China situation is that they cannot feed their own people. While China is the number one consumer of pork worldwide, it cannot produce sufficient for their own needs, and they buy a lot from the US. China recently had the African swine flu and had to slaughter (without consuming) one-third of its stock of pigs, or 100 million pigs.
So in that emergency (in 2019) the Chinese government opened the wet markets again. This was to feed their people. With all the trillions of dollars that China has to use in the Silk Road and Belt program, they don’t have money to feed their own people. For the purposes of the Communist party, money is no problem, but for feeding the Communist China people, there is no money available.
See: CNN: Chinese wet Markets reopen
So the government opened the wet markets again in 2019, closed them during the 2020 Corona virus outbreak, and then in May of 2020, opened them again over the objections of many.
But the key element in all of this is not that China is allowing these wet markets to help feed the lower level poor Chinese people, but rather that the rich Chinese are using the wet markets for exotic animals which they believe are useful like for aphrodisiacs. While these livestock farms with rare animals like leopards, rhinos, etc. are now allowed, the government is making a lot of money off of their operation.
Conclusion: We get the yearly influenzas and this time around the killer Covid 19 because the Chinese government wants to make money off of the wet markets.