This article was produced by Earth | Food | Life, a project of the Independent Media Institute.
As the number of COVID-19 cases in the United States grow and the government scrambles to address the virus's spread, it's important to reflect on its source and discuss the role that consumption of animals plays in the spread of the disease.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, COVID-19 likely originated in bats, and the first outbreak in Wuhan, China, has been linked to a live animal market. These markets, known as "wet markets," allow the sale of wild animals and put people in close proximity to both live and dead animals with little or no regulatory oversight. Wet markets are also thought to be the place where other deadly diseases like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) crossed the species barrier.