Wet market

A wet market (also called a public market)[1][2][3] is a marketplace selling fresh meat, fish, produce, and other perishable goods as distinguished from "dry markets" that sell durable goods such as fabric and electronics.[4][5][6] Not all wet markets sell live animals,[1][7][8][9] but the term wet market is sometimes used to signify a live animal market in which vendors slaughter animals upon customer purchase,[10][11][12] such as is done with poultry in Hong Kong.[13] Wet markets are common in many parts of the world,[14][15][7][16][9] notably in China, Southeast Asia, and South Asia. These include a wide variety of markets, such as farmers' markets, fish markets, and/or wildlife markets.[1][8][17][18] They often play critical roles in urban food security due to factors of pricing, freshness of food, social interaction, and local cultures.[1][2][3]

Wet market
A wet market in Hong Kong
Traditional Chinese傳統市場
Simplified Chinese传统市场
Hanyu Pinyinchuántǒng shìchǎng
Jyutpingcyun4 tung2 si5 coeng4
Literal meaningtraditional market
Alternative Chinese name
Traditional Chinese街市
Simplified Chinese街市
Jyutpinggaai1 si5
Literal meaningstreet market

Most wet markets do not trade in wild or exotic animals,[19][20][21][22] but those that do have been linked to outbreaks of zoonotic diseases.[7][23] One such market, the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, was believed to have played a role in the COVID-19 pandemic,[7][23] although investigations into whether the virus originated from non-market sources are ongoing as of April 2020.[24][25][26] Wet markets were banned from holding wildlife in China in 2003, after the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak which was directly tied to those practices.[23] Such regulations were lifted before being put into place again in 2020,[23] with other countries proposing similar bans.[27] Media reports that fail to distinguish between all wet markets and those with live animals or wildlife, as well as insinuations of fostering wildlife smuggling, have been blamed for fueling Sinophobia related to the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic.[8][28]



The term "wet market" came into common use in Singapore in the early 1970s when the government used it to distinguish such traditional markets from the supermarkets that had become popular there.[29] The term was added to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) in 2016, as a term used throughout Southeast Asia.[30] The OED's earliest cited use of the term is from The Straits Times of Singapore in 1978.[5]

The "wet" in "wet market" refers to the constantly wet floors due to the melting of ice used to keep food from spoiling,[29][31][32] the washing of meat and seafood stalls and the spraying of fresh produce that are common in wet markets.[31][12][9]

The term "public market" may be synonymous with "wet market",[1][2][3] although it may sometimes refer exclusively to state-owned and community-owned wet markets.[1][2][3] Wet markets may also be called "fresh food markets" and "good food markets" when referring to markets consisting of numerous competing vendors primarily selling fruits and vegetables.[6] The term "wet market" is frequently used to signify a live animal market that sells directly to consumers,[10][11] although the terms are not synonymous.[16]

Although the term "wet market" may refer to markets that sell wild animals and wildlife products, it is not synonymous with the term "wildlife market" which exclusively refers to markets that contain wildlife products.[20][16][19][21]


The term "wet market", which specifies markets that sell fresh produce and meat, includes a broad variety of markets.[1][8] Wet markets can be categorized according to their ownership structure (privately owned, state-owned, or community-owned), scale (wholesale or retail), and produce (fruits, vegetables, slaughtered meat, or live animals).[1][8] They can be further subcategorized based on whether the meat inventory originates from domesticated or wild animals.[1][8]

Traditional wet markets are typically housed in temporary sheds, open-air sites,[1][33][34][9] or partially open commercial complexes,[35][16] while modern wet markets are housed in buildings often equipped with improved ventilation, freezing, and refrigeration facilities.[1][36][37]

Economic roleEdit

Wet markets are less dependent on imported goods than supermarkets due to their smaller volumes and lesser emphasis on consistency.[38] Wet markets have been described in a 2019 food security study as "critical for ensuring urban food security", particularly in Chinese cities.[1] The roles of wet markets in supporting urban food security include food pricing and physical accessibility.[1]

Academic papers in urban studies, studies on food distribution, and the Singapore National Environment Agency have noted lower prices, greater freshness of food, and the facilitation of both bargaining and social interaction as key reasons for the persistence of wet markets.[1][32][39][40] The persistence of wet markets has also been attributed to "culinary traditions that call for freshly slaughtered meat and fish as opposed to frozen meats".[32]

In developing countries with agriculture-based economies, fresh meat is mainly distributed through traditional wet markets or meat stalls.[41] Wet markets selling fresh meat are often attached to, or located near, slaughter facilities.[41]

Health concernsEdit

If sanitation standards are not maintained, wet markets can spread disease. Those that carry live animals and wildlife are at especially high risk of transmitting zoonoses. Because of the openness, newly introduced animals may come in direct contact with sales clerks, butchers, and customers or to other animals which they would never interact with in the wild. This may allow for some animals to act as intermediate hosts, helping a disease spread to humans.[42]

Due to unhygienic sanitation standards and the connection to the spread of zoonoses and pandemics, critics have grouped wet markets that hold live animals together with factory farming as major health hazards in China and across the world.[43][44][45][46]

A wet market in Chinatown of Yangon.
Fowl cages at a wet market in Shenzhen.
Rodents at a wet market in Shenzhen
Unsanitary conditions with poor standards of hygiene and mixed produce packed tightly are known to spread disease.

Avian flu and SARSEdit

Influenza virus can change by genetic reassortment as it travels between different hosts in its range. The presence of different intermediate hosts in close proximity makes wet markets a high risk environment for such zoonoses.

The H5N1 avian flu, SARS, and COVID-19 outbreaks can be traced to keeping live animals in wet markets where the potential for zoonotic transmission is greatly increased.[47][48][42] In April 2020, scientist Peter Daszak described a Chinese wet market as follows: "it is a bit of shock to go to a wildlife market and see this huge diversity of animals live in cages on top of each other with a pile of guts that have been pulled out of an animal and thrown on the floor [...] These are perfect places for viruses to spread."[49] In a 2007 study, Chinese scientists identified the presence of SARS-CoV-like viruses in horseshoe bats combined with unsanitary wildlife markets and the culture of eating exotic mammals in southern China as a "time-bomb".[50] A 2018 study in Malaysia concluded that wet market workers were at greater risk for leptospirosis infections.[51]

Chinese environmentalists, researchers and state media have called for stricter regulation of exotic animal trade in the markets.[52] Medical experts Zhong Nanshan, Guan Yi and Yuen Kwok-yung have also called for the closure of wildlife markets since 2010.[53]


Chinese wet markets have been blamed as the source of the COVID-19 pandemic due to reports that two-thirds of the initial cases had direct exposure to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan.[54][55][56][57] The Huanan market sold "live wolf pups, salamanders, civets, and bamboo rats" amongst other species.[58] Alternate theories emerged in January that the viruses were instead artificially created in a laboratory, but these claims were largely rejected by scientists and news outlets as unfounded rumours and conspiracy theories.[59][60][61][62] In April 2020, United States intelligence officials launched examinations into unverified reports that the virus may have originated from accidental exposure of scientists studying coronaviruses in bats at the BSL-4-capable Wuhan Institute of Virology rather than a wildlife market.[24][25][26][59] On 3 May 2020, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that there is "enormous evidence" the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese laboratory.[63] However, Pompeo later distanced himself from the claim,[64] while virologists have stated that available data overwhelmingly suggest that there was no chance of scientific misconduct or negligence such that the virus emerged from a lab.[65][66][67] In May 2020, George Gao, the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said animal samples collected from the seafood market had tested negative for the virus, indicating that the market was the site of an early superspreading event, but it was not the site of the initial outbreak.[68]

In March and April 2020, some reports have said that wildlife markets in other countries of Asia,[69][70][71] Africa,[72][73][74] and in general all over the world are also similarly prone to health risks.[75] In April 2020, a group of US lawmakers, NIAID director Anthony Fauci, UNEP biodiversity chief Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, and CBCGDF secretary general Zhou Jinfeng called for the global closure of wildlife markets due to the potential for zoonotic diseases and risk to endangered species.[76][77][78][79]

Around the worldEdit



According to a 2013 study on agricultural value chains, approximately 90% of households in Ethiopia across all income groups purchase their beef through local butchers in wet markets.[80][81]


A 2017 comparative study of traditional wet markets and supermarkets in urban Accra found that there was no significant conflict between the two categories of markets since the influx of new supermarkets in Ghana led by Melcom began in the 1990s, but anticipated future tension between the two without government policies to improve the infrastructure and food safety of wet markets.[82] The study found that consumers at the supermarkets came from the same socio-economic and geographical backgrounds but with higher educational backgrounds than those at the traditional wet markets.[82]


The most common agricultural supply chain in Kenya involves farmers selling their produce to collectors who then sell the produce to retailers in wet markets.[83] A 2006 study in the areas around Nairobi and Kisumu found that 21% of farmers sold to collectors, 17% sold directly to wholesalers, and 14% sold directly to wet market vendors.[83] The collectors and wholesalers both predominantly sold their produce inventory to wet market vendors.[83] The customers of the wet markets in the study were predominantly end consumers, although a small share of the wet markets also sold to restaurants.[83]


Fruit and vegetable vendors at Bodija Market, Ibadan, Nigeria

According to a 2011 USDA Foreign Agricultural Service report, most of the clientele of traditional open-air wet markets in Nigeria are low and middle income consumers.[84]

From 2008 to 2009, a group of food safety researchers launched an initiative working with a small group of butchers in the wet market section of Bodija Market in Ibadan to promote positive food safety practices and peer-to-peer training.[85][86] The initiative led to 20% more meat samples being of acceptable quality.[85][86] A follow-up study in 2019 on the same group of butchers found that, while many of the butchers still remembered the food safety practices, "none of the butchers reported that they continued to buy and replace the materials after the exhaustion of those distributed during the intervention programme".[85] The follow-up study found that the microbiological sanitation in 2018 was even worse than before the 2008–2009 intervention.[85]

In 2014, the license of the slaughterhouse in the wet market section of Bodija Market was revoked due to unhygienic meat handling practices.[85][87] In its place, the local government opened the Ibadan Central Abattoir in Amosun Village, Akinyele through public-private partnerships.[85][87] The new facility is equipped with modern facilities for slaughter and processing of meat were provided in 2014 through public-private partnerships and is one of the largest abattoirs in West Africa, consisting of 15 hectares of land with stalls for 1000 meat sellers, 170 shops, administrative building, clinic, canteen, cold room, and an incinerator.[85] In June 2018, local newspapers reported that five people were killed in the Bodija Market abattoir when a security team attempted to enforce the forcible relocation of Ibadan abattoirs to the new facilities as ordered by the local government.[85][88]


The most common agricultural supply chain in Uganda involves farmers selling their produce to wholesalers, who in turn sell to retailers in wet markets.[83] A 2006 study in the areas around Kampala and Mbale found that 51% of farmers sold to wholesalers and 18% sold directly to wet market vendors, while 34% of the wholesalers sold to wet market vendors.[83] The customers of the wet markets in the study were predominantly end consumers, although a small share of the wet markets also sold to restaurants.[83]



Saúde street market, São Paulo, Brazil

In Brazil, regulations on wet markets are handled at the municipal level.[89][90][91] The regulations widely vary across Brazil, with zoning rules prohibiting wet markets in some municipalities.[89][90]

A 2003 study found that wet markets were losing ground in food retail to supermarkets, which had an overall food retail market share of 75%.[91] The gains of supermarkets over traditional food retailers in Brazil were predominantly in meat and seafood retail, with the supermarkets' fresh meat & seafood market shares typically three times greater than their fresh fruits & vegetables market share.[91]


According to a 2010 USDA Foreign Agricultural Service report, each small town in Colombia typically has a wet market that is supplied by local production and opens at least once a week.[92] The report described both retail wet markets and wholesale wet markets that provide food products for "Mom'n Pop stores".[92] It estimated the number of wet markets at around 2,000, but noted that the number was slowly decreasing in large cities despite the presence of large wet markets like Corabastos [es] in Bogotá.[92]


Fresh meat section of the Mercado 20 de Noviembre in Oaxaca, Mexico

Some traditional Mexican open-air markets called tianguis, such as the Mercado Margarita Maza de Juárez in Oaxaca, are separated into a wet market (zona húmeda) and a dry market (zona seca).[93] A 2002 study observed a trend that Mexican consumers, especially those in the middle class, increasingly prefer supermarkets for beef purchases as opposed to traditional wet markets.[94][95] In 2014, a study of Mexican beef retail also noted an ongoing transition from traditional full-service wet markets to self-service meat display cases in supermarkets.[95]

In Mexico, conflicts between traditional and modern retailers are handled at the municipal and state levels.[89] Some local zoning rules, such as those in the central districts of Mexico City and Morelia, have prohibited wet markets from operating in urban districts without providing further assistance to the retailers.[89][90]



Seafood section of Sanqi Baihui Market in Beijing, China

Since the 1990s, large cities across China have moved traditional outdoor wet markets to modern indoor facilities.[34][1] In 1999, all roadside markets in Hangzhou were banned and moved indoors.[96] By 2014, all wet markets in Nanjing were moved indoors.[1] In 2016, a Meat & Livestock Australia study in 15 Chinese cities found that 39% of consumers who frequently purchased imported meat had purchased beef in the preceding month.[97]

In 2018, wet markets were noted to have remained the most prevalent food outlet in urban regions of China despite the rise of supermarket chains since the 1990s.[98] However, wet markets have been losing ground in popularity compared to supermarkets, despite the fact they may be seen as healthier and more sustainable.[46] Reports suggest "although there are well-managed, hygienic wet markets in and near bigger cities [in China], hygiene can be spotty, especially in smaller communities."[52] During the 2010s, "smart markets" equipped with e-payment terminals emerged as traditional wet markets faced increasing competition from discount stores.[96] Wet markets also began facing competition from online grocery stores, such as Alibaba's Hema stores.[12]

The trade of wildlife is not common in China, particularly in large cities,[12] and most wet markets in China do not contain live or wild animals besides fish held in tanks.[9][20][21][22][8][46][99] However, some poorly-regulated Chinese wet markets provide outlets for the exotic wildlife trade industry that was estimated to be worth more than $73 billion in a 2017 Chinese government report.[12][9] In 2003, wet markets across China were banned from holding wildlife after the 2002–2004 SARS outbreak, which was directly tied to such practices.[23] In 2014, live poultry was banned from all markets in Hangzhou due to the H7N9 avian influenza outbreak.[96] Several provinces in China also banned the sale of live poultry following the avian influenza outbreak.[79] Although the exact origin of the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to be confirmed as of April 2020,[100][101][102] it has been linked to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan, China.[103] Following the outbreak, epidemiology experts from China and a number of animal welfare organizations called to ban the operation of wet markets selling wild animals for human consumption.[53][104][105]

The Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market was shut down on 1 January 2020.[9] The Chinese government subsequently announced a temporary ban on the sale of wild animal products at wet markets on 26 January 2020,[69][106][9][20] and then a permanent ban in February 2020 with an exception for Traditional Chinese Medicine ingredients.[106][107] By 22 March 2020, at least 94% of the temporarily closed wet markets in China were reopened according to Chinese state-run media,[12][46] without wild animals or wild meat.[20] The reopening of wet markets led to public criticism of the Chinese government's handling of wet markets by Anthony Fauci and Lindsey Graham,[108][109][76] although their criticisms have been attributed to semantic confusion between the terms "wet market" and "wildlife market".[20][16][19][21] The World Health Organization responded with the recommendation that wet markets only be reopened "on the condition that they conform to stringent food safety and hygiene standards." [110][111] As of April 2020, the Chinese government is drafting a permanent law to further tighten restrictions on wildlife trade.[12][9]

Hong KongEdit

The building that housed the former Bridges Street Market in Hong Kong
Shui Chuen O Market, a newer wet market under the ownership of the Hong Kong Housing Authority

On 16 May 1842, Central Market was opened in a central position on Queen's Road in Hong Kong. In this market, people could find all kinds of meat, fruit and vegetables, poultry, salt fish, fresh fish, weighing rooms and money changers.[112]

In 1920, the Reclamation Street Market was opened in Hong Kong. Due to structural problems, Reclamation Street Market was removed by the government in 1953.[113] In 1957, Yau Ma Tei Street Market launched to replace the Reclamation Street Market.[114] There were fixed-pitch stalls which sold vegetables, fruits, seafood, beef, pork, and poultry. Also, there were stalls selling baby chickens, baby ducks, and three-striped box turtles as pets.[115]

In 1994, wet markets accounted for 70% of produce sales and 50% of meat sales in Hong Kong.[116]

Prior to 2000, many of Hong Kong's wet markets were managed by the Urban Council (within Hong Kong Island and Kowloon) or the Regional Council (in the New Territories). Since the disbandment of the two councils on 31 December 1999, these markets have been managed by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) of the Hong Kong government.[117][118]

In 2008 the government of Hong Kong proposed that all poultry should be slaughtered at central abattoirs to combat the spread of avian flu.[119]

In 2018, the FEHD operated 74 wet markets housing approximately 13,070 stalls.[117] In addition, the Hong Kong Housing Authority operated 21 markets while private developers operated about 99 (in 2017).[120] As of 2018, planning is underway for new wet markets in the new towns at Tung Chung, Tin Shui Wai, Hung Shui Kiu, Tseung Kwan O, and Kwu Tung North.[117]

In Hong Kong, wet markets are most frequented by older residents, those with lower incomes, and domestic helpers who serve approximately 10 percent of Hong Kong's residents.[121] Most neighbourhoods contain at least one wet market.[12] Wet markets have become destinations for tourists to "see the real Hong Kong".[122] Many of the wet market buildings are owned by property investment firms and as a result the price of food can vary from market to market.[123] Hong Kong's wet markets are known to use red lampshades to make the food look fresher.[124]

Markets in Hong Kong are governed by the law of Hong Kong, not Chinese law. Under the Slaughterhouse Regulation, the slaughtering of live bovine animals, swine, goats, sheep or soliped for human consumption must take place in a licensed slaughterhouse,[125] None of the wet markets in Hong Kong hold wild or exotic animals.[12]

The retail sale of live poultry in Hong Kong is permitted at licensed outlets only. At the end of 2016, there were 85 retail shops within public wet markets licensed to sell live poultry.[13] The FEHD has implemented a number of measures to reduce the risk of avian influenza. Regular inspections and cleaning take place, including nightly disinfection of each stall by external contractors. Stall owners selling live poultry are not allowed to keep the animals on the premises overnight; they must be slaughtered before 8:00 pm nightly.[126]


The Indian meat, poultry, and seafood industries are largely dependent on wet markets.[127][128] According to Food & Beverage News, domestic consumers prefer freshly cut meat from wet markets over processed and frozen meats despite use of outdated and unhygienic facilities by the majority of Indian wet market abattoirs.[129]

In Delhi, the food retail system consists of the traditional informal food retail sector (wet markets, pushcarts, and kirana "mom-and-pop" stores), rent-free-subsidized retailers' cooperatives, government-owned food distribution channels, and private modern supermarkets.[130] Delhi wet markets generally consist of a number of small retailers that cluster together to sell their produce during daily fixed hours.[130] A 2010 study of Delhi food retail found that 68% to 75% of the total quantity of fruits and vegetables sold to consumers were distributed by wet market retailers.[130] The same study surveyed consumers at 518 wet market retailers in Delhi and found that their transactions included relatively little bargaining, with only a 3% average difference between the final price and the initially quoted price.[130]


Pasar Keputran, a pasar pagi in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Traditional wet markets (such as pasar pagi) are found across in Indonesia in both urban and rural areas. Wet markets face increasing competition from supermarkets as well as e-commerce companies like Shopee and Tokopedia.[36] In 2018, Indonesian wet market vendors that import goods expressed concerns over the decrease in value of the Indonesian rupiah.[36]

In 2016, the Indonesia government's policy to stabilise beef prices required importers to sell cheaper-priced meats in wet markets instead of in supermarkets and hypermarkets.[97] In Greater Jakarta, Indian buffalo meat is predominantly sold in wet markets, with limited market penetration from supermarkets and hypermarkets as of 2018.[97] In contrast, only 7% of consumers in Jakarta purchase Australian beef from supermarkets in 2018.[97]

Many urban wet markets have undergone major renovations during the 2010s, such as Jakarta's Mayestik Market, to modernize them by introducing air conditioning, better ventilation, improved rubbish and liquid disposal systems, improved hygiene, and more safe and comfortable facilities for sellers.[citation needed] In 2018, the first modern wet market opened in Jakarta with a laboratory as well as freezing and refrigeration facilities.[36]


In March 2020, the Malaysian government temporarily banned the operation of all wet markets (including pasar malam and pasar pagi) as a national response to the coronavirus pandemic.[131]


A palengke in Danao City, Philippines

In the Philippines, wet markets are managed by cooperatives according to legislation such as the Cooperatives Code (RA 7160) and the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act (RA 8435).[132] The Philippine government has control over the price of some commodities sold in palengkes, especially critical foods such as rice.[133][134]

In July 2017, the digital wet market Palengke Boy was launched in Davao City to compete against traditional wet markets.[135] In March 2020, the Pasig local government launched a mobile wet market to ensure access to basic goods during the COVID-19 pandemic.[136]


A wet market in Tekka Market, Singapore

Wet markets in Singapore are subsidized by the government.[36] The Tekka Market, Tiong Bahru Market, and Chinatown Complex Market are prominent wet markets containing seasonal fruit, fresh vegetables, imported beef, and live seafood.[137]

In the early 1990s, the slaughter of animals was banned in 12 inner-city markets and 22 wet market centers in Singapore.[138] In early 2020, the National Environment Agency issued advisories for "high standards of hygiene and cleanliness" for the 83 markets that it oversees in a response to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.[32]

Sri LankaEdit

In Sri Lanka, where poultry is the leading livestock industry and constitutes the only meat export industry, the majority of broiler chickens are mechanically processed in semi-automated plants. However, poultry is still slaughtered in wet markets that generally cater to specific groups of customers and ethnic groups.[139] A 2017 study of 102 semi-automated poultry processing plants and 25 poultry-slaughtering wet markets found that 27.4% of the broiler neck skin samples from the semi-automated processing facilities tested positive for Campylobacter contamination, while 48% of broiler neck skin samples from the wet market processing facilities tested positive for Campylobacter contamination.[139]


In 1997, a report by the Taipei city government indicated that the city had 61 major wet markets with almost 10,000 registered vendors.[140] The report also indicated that most of the city's wet markets were in serious need of repair and that almost 3,500 of the vendor stalls lay vacant.[140]

The Nanmen Market in Taipei is a government-owned traditional wet market that was opened in 1907 during the Japanese colonial rule.[37][140] The market building was demolished in October 2019 and the market temporarily relocated until its replacement modern 12-floor building is completed in 2022.[37]


A wet market in Chinatown, Chiang Mai, Thailand, selling a variety of shellfish and turtles.

Wet markets are the dominant preferred venue for grocery shopping in Thailand due to the local importance of fresh food,[141] as well as lower prices and familiarity with shopkeepers.[36]

United Arab EmiratesEdit

In October 2018, a Meat & Livestock Australia report said that while the United Arab Emirates's grocery retail sector is highly developed, wet markets are still prominent throughout the country.[97]


In 2017, there were approximately 9,000 wet markets, 800 supermarkets, 160 shopping malls and 1.3 million small family-owned stores across Vietnam according to government estimates.[142]

In 2017, the Hanoi city government planned to renovate the city's wet markets and transform them into modern shopping malls.[142] The plan was met with resistance from wet market vendors after significant declines in sales figures from other markets that were moved to the basements of high-end shopping centers.[142]

In 2020, Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyễn Xuân Phúc announced proposals to ban wildlife trade in Vietnam.[27]



An entrance to the Edwardian Iveagh Markets building in Dublin, Ireland.

The Iveagh Markets in Dublin, Ireland was an indoor market that was divided into a dry market that sold clothes and a wet market that sold fish, fruit, and vegetables.[143][144][145] The market operated from 1906 and had become dilapidated by the 1980s.[144][145] The last stalls closed in the 1990s and the building is still derelict as of 2018 despite failed attempts to redevelop the site into a new food market complex.[144][145][143]



In 2020, SBS reported that wet markets were once common in Australia and were gradually shut down over time as abattoirs were centralised and moved away from cities.[146] Media outlets Daily Mercury and Herald Sun, as well as Agriculture Minister David Littleproud and Leader of the Labor Party Anthony Albanese, have described various fresh meat, seafood, and produce markets in Australia, such as the Sydney Fish Market and Melbourne Fish Market, as wet markets in response to international calls to ban wet markets.[147][148][149][150]

Media coverageEdit

During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Chinese wet markets were heavily criticized in media outlets as a potential source for the virus.[57] Media reports urging for permanent blanket bans on all wet markets, as opposed to solely live animal markets or wildlife markets, have been criticized for undermining infection control needs to be specific about wildlife markets, such as the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.[8] Media focus on foreign wet markets has also been blamed for distracting public attention from public health threats, such as local sources of zoonotic diseases.[151]

In Western media, wet markets have been portrayed during the COVID-19 pandemic without distinguishing between general wet markets, live animal wet markets, and wildlife markets,[52] using montages of explicit images from different markets across Asia without identifying locations.[8][16][152] Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting criticized several news articles from mainstream media outlets during the first half of 2020 as "ignorant or worse", pointing to sensationalist coverage utilizing graphic images for shock value.[153] These depictions have been criticized as exaggerated and Orientalist, and have been blamed for fueling Sinophobia and "Chinese otherness".[8][16][28][152][151]

See alsoEdit


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