Coronavirus traced to China market that sold bats, wolves, rats to eat

It’s enough to make your stomach turn.

A viral video has emerged online of a Chinese woman gobbling a bat, which “play a critical role” in transmitting the deadly coronavirus, with a second video also featuring an alleged bowl of bat soup.

The first gag-inducing clip features an unidentified woman at an undisclosed restaurant in the Wuhan province clutching what appears to be a fruit bat with chopsticks while nibbling its wing like chicken.

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A man in the background says in Chinese, “Eat the meat! (Don’t) eat the skin” and “(You) should eat the meat on its back.”

The graphic footage was first posted on Wednesday by Hong Kong-based news service Apple Daily before circulating on Twitter.

Another gross Twitter video, which popular Chinese blogger Chen Qiushi shared on Wednesday with his 84,000 Twitter followers, depicts Cantonese-speaking diners about to chow down on a bat bouillabaisse at an upscale eatery.

The Mandarin caption reads: “(After) experiencing this matter, can Chinese people give up eating wildlife?”

They’re not just being squeamish. Experts say bats are among the carriers of the coronavirus epidemic ravaging China. The deadly disease reportedly originated at Wuhan’s Huanan seafood market, which sold civets, snakes and other illegal exotic animals that had been infected by bats, reports Business Insider.

The coronavirus then spread from the tainted wildlife to humans, killing 17 people across China and sickening 600 others in less than a month. Infections became so rampant that Chinese officials halted all travel out of Wuhan.

Unfortunately, the bat’s exalted status as a traditional folk remedy means gourmands might not stop eating the flying rodents anytime soon. In Indonesia, a popular asthma cure involves removing a flying fox’s heart like the evil priest in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom before cooking it and eating it, reports CNN. Even bat faeces is purported to cure everything from bad vision to childhood malnutrition in Chinese medicinal circles, reports the Yin Yang House.

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The video comes after photos appeared of a Chinese market at the centre of the deadly coronavirus outbreak selling live animals – including wolf pups, foxes, rats and peacocks – to eat, according to a new report.

The wild animals were among 112 items that were peddled at the Huanan seafood market in the central city of Wuhan, Agence France-Press reported.

Other wildlife sold at the market, which has since been shuttered, included crocodiles, giant salamanders, snakes, porcupines and camel meat.

“Freshly slaughtered, frozen and delivered to your door,” said the price list for the vendor, Wild Game Animal Husbandry for the Masses.

The disturbing list circulated widely on China’s internet but could not be independently verified by AFP.

Chinese health officials believe the mysterious virus – which has so far killed at least 17 people and sickened hundreds more – originated from “wild animals at the seafood market”.

It has since been confirmed to spread via human-to-human contact, as fears mount that it could become a global pandemic.

The coronavirus, which causes flu-like symptoms, has spread to four other countries, including the US, where a case was detected in Washington state.

Previous deadly epidemics, such as severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), have been linked to Chinese consumption of civet meat.

Exotic species like the catlike civets, rats and bats are considered a delicacy in China and other Asian countries.

This article originally appeared on the New York Post and was reproduced with permission

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