Acclaimed ethologist Jane Goodall recently sent a video message about the coronavirus pandemic, urging people to rethink their relationships with wild animals. The 85-year-old animal-right activist began by sending her sincerest condolences to those around the world who have suffered during the pandemic. “My heart is with all who are sick; all who have lost loved ones. I just hope and pray that the nightmare will soon be over,” Goodall said. “I also hope and pray that the nightmare will end for the wild animals who are captured and kept in horrible conditions for food. Or because some people believe that various animal parts can be used to cure diseases or give people strength or virility.” 

Goodall urged viewers to understand that all animals feel pain and suffering the way humans do and explained that the climate crisis is in large part caused by destroying habitats where wild animals live. “Many species of animals and plants have become extinct. And our too-close relationship with wild animals in the markets or when we use them for entertainment, has unleashed the terror and misery of new viruses. Viruses that exist in animals without harming them but mutate into other forms to infect us with new diseases like Ebola, SARS, MERS, and now, the coronavirus,” Goodall said. “We have amazing brains. We’re capable of love and compassion for each other. Let us also show love and compassion for the animals who are with us on this planet. Let us all live in peace and harmony together.” 

While China responded to the outbreak of COVID-19—which originated in a “wet” animal market in the city of Wuhan and is believed to have originated in either bats or pangolins—by permanently banning the sale and consumption of wild animals, British tabloid The Daily Mail claims that wet markets have reopened in the country and slaughter of wild animals has resumed.