Terrifying photos show what goes on at one of the world's "scariest markets", including exotic animals being beaten and blow-torched to death in front of customers.
Experts say Tomohon Extreme Market is a breeding ground for coronavirus, but the worldwide panic over the deadly disease hasn't stopped vendors from flogging their stomach-churning wares.
Located in North Sulawesi, Indonesia, the marketplace sells bats, snakes, dogs and monkeys as exotic delicacies.
That's despite bats being directly linked to the coronavirus, which originated in a food market in Wuhan, China.
The Tomohon Extreme Market brands itself as one of Indonesia's "scariest markets" and attracts huge numbers of Chinese tourists. Customers often see workers beat caged animals to death before cooking them with a blowtorch.
Stomach-churning recipe for bat soup as animals named as possible coronavirus host
Coronavirus outbreak likely to become a pandemic, say disease experts
Reporters who have visited the market have said stallrunners seem to "put on a show" to frighten tourists, treating live animals with extreme cruelty and violence.
In a report last year, the Daily Mail published images of flying fox bats that had been blowtorched to remove the fur which were sold individually as roasted snacks – with their wings offered separately.
The same thing is done to dogs, whose charred corpses are then piled onto stall tables and sold, their mouths still open in pain.
Monkeys are also killed and sold at the market, despite many species being protected under Indonesian law.
Snakes, birds, rats and even cats have also been spotted.
Visitor numbers at Tomohon Extreme Market will have dipped dramatically since Indonesia temporarily banned Chinese visitors from entering the country.
There are some media reports that the market has stopped selling bats since the outbreak, but animal rights organisations have claimed bat meat is very much still on the menu despite the danger.
Professor R Wasito from the Veterinary Pathology Department of Gadjah Mada University said Tomohon Extreme Market and other such wildlife markets are "potential breeding grounds for the coronavirus".
Local NGO Bali Animals Defender has called for Tomohon to be closed, citing public health as well as animal cruelty.
North Sulawesi's Minahasa population traditionally eats bats when celebrating holidays, and many locals have been shocked to hear they could be the source of coronavirus, having eaten them for centuries.
After shocking images of Chinese people eating whole bats went viral amid the virus panic, officials have sought to reassure the rest of the world that most people in China don't eat exotic wildlife.
Bai Tian, China's ambassador to Malaysia, said in a recent interview that the government has started educating people that eating wild animals comes with health risks, despite many believing them to be "more nutritious".
Source: Read Full Article