All the talk about government shut downs and overreach, nursing home and prison outbreaks, vaccines, antibodies and laboratory leaks ignores the fundamental fact that Covid-19, also called SARS-CoV-2, derived from a virus that came from eating civet cats.
The masked palm civet cat that gave humans SARS lives in trees and eats oranges, papayas and mangos. Civets weigh between five and 25 pounds and have a long, cat-like body and tail. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Tokyo now have confirmed that house cats can get the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
According to StatNews:
“In early April, Chinese researchers reported that cats and ferrets were susceptible to infection. A few weeks later the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced that two pet cats in New York state had tested positive for the virus. At least eight big cats at the Bronx Zoo – tigers and lions – were also infected with the virus.”
Like rhino horn and tiger bone, civet cats are thought by some in China to have medicinal value when consumed “They are kept live in cages at restaurants that serve them” says NBC News, awaiting the customer’s selection whereupon they are slaughtered on the spot.
In 2004, after the SARS epidemic, China began drowning or electrocuting thousands of civet cats “seized from wildlife markets in Guangdong province” reported CBS News “to eliminate a possible source of the SARS virus.”
While civets make money for their traffickers – an average platter of the cat in Guangzhou costs $8-$10 – they are also hunted for their fur and caged for their musk used in making perfume. According to one account, to obtain the musk:
“Civet cats, who are rarely bred in captivity, are captured in the wild and held in tiny cages barely larger than their bodies, where they are kept without release in hot, smoke-filled sheds for up to 15 years. Every 10 days or so the musk is brutally extracted from the glands of the conscious civets. Many of the civets cease to eat after the first extraction is performed.”
As Covid-19 has become politicized by partisan politics and been used to attack lawmakers at the federal, state and local levels, awareness of its grisly animal origins has been lost. It should not be. Ignoring its source means that new outbreaks will continue.
Covid-19, SARS-CoV-2, came from eating civet cats and specifically cats found in China’s unhygienic, cruel live animal, wet slaughter markets. Pictures of the markets from news organizations are stomach-churning.
In addition to its SARS origin, Covid-19 resembles Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) which has already invaded the U.S. on a huge scale and severe acute diarrhea syndrome (SADS) which U.S. pork producers are bracing for. Such viruses, as we have seen and continue to see, mutate and jump to humans.
In 2004, after the SARS eruption, the World Heath Organization (WHO) objected to the mass slaughter of civet cats seized from wildlife markets in Guangdong province not because it was cruel but because “it might destroy clues about the source of SARS and even help to spread the disease,” reported CBS.
Last week, WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek shockingly said live animal markets should remain in operation because they “play a key role in providing food and jobs to millions of people.” Yes, WHO – so does elephant and rhino poaching. So does heroin.