Singapore debates sale and slaughter of wild animals in wet markets – dpa international


Frogs for sale in a Singapore wet market (Simon Roughneen)

Frogs for sale in a Singapore wet market (Simon Roughneen)

KUALA LUMPUR — Singapore will consider banning selling and killing live animals in wet markets, the country’s environment minister told the legislature on Tuesday.

The practice is common in parts of East and South-East Asia, but has come under scrutiny due to the possibility that the new coronavirus pandemic could have originated in a wet market in Wuhan, China – or in a nearby laboratory.

In Asia, a wet market is typically a bustling open-air bazaar where freshly caught fish and meat and new vegetables are sold.

Amy Khor, Minister of State for Environment and Water Resources, said that “international benchmarking and scientific evidence” would be used to determine the risk of transmission of dangerous viruses due to the practice.

Khor was responding to a question posed by Louis Ng, a member of parliament, about the sale and slaughter of live turtles in markets.

Though the government will review the practice, Khor hinted that it will continue, citing evaluations by the state environment and food agencies.

“Transmission risks are found to be low, as long as food safety and hygiene standards are maintained,” the minister told MPs.

In a rare contretemps in Singapore’s ruling People’s Action Party-dominated legislature, Ng – an animal rights’ activist and PAP member – pushed back, saying that because many animals appearing in the markets are “wild-caught” and “came from another country,” it is therefore impossible to know “what disease they may be carrying.”

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