Quan Zhang, Am Chinese
Originally Answered: Why are people in China eating bats, even though they're known to carry horrible diseases that can spread to humans?
OP, I'm jusy going to humor you rather than reporting the question as insincere:
There's a lovely little book called Guns, Germs, and Steel (only $8.51 on Kindle!) that tells you all about how we get diseases. Most of it comes from animal transmission via livestock due to the fact that we spend much more time around them compared to other animal species. It's not that you get sick from eating an unsuitably weird animal, but you get sick because of exposure to them. For bats, specifically, they're social animals that live in large colonies, thus diseases spread among them easily, and being flying creatures that spend a lot of energy which in turn causes them to have a very high body temperature, any viruses that do survive on them will survive a normal human fever.
But it doesn't have anything to do with eating bats, in and of itself.
That Europe and Asia hit the genetic and geography lottery and got most of the donesticatable animals, while the Americas just got dogs and alpacas, is why Old World plagues decimated native populations, but there weren't very many native diseases wiping out Europeans.
You might as well ask why we eat beef even though we can get mad cow from it.
Ray Hart, Digital Nomad Co-Living Davao City and San Diego
This is an airborne virus which isn’t caught by eating anything. Do animals play a role? Possibly. There are millions of strains of coronavirus in the world. Most animals can host some of these viruses, including your pets. What is believed to have happened is this strain started as one form, possibly even in humans, then went through a period of transformation as it was passed between species. That is how most zoonotic diseases come about.
Western media is hyping up the fact that a wet market, which are common all over eastern Asia, has live animals. This is true, but so does your average American grocery store or Walmart Supercenter, Meijers, or a host of similar stores. If you have any doubt take a walk through the meat ans seafood and look at the live lobster & crabs or through the pet department where the fish, birds, or small animals are sold, not to mention the malls with their pet stores usually being fairly close to restaurants and food courts. If you believe that rats, bats, snakes, birds, mice, and feral cats aren’t part of your american grocery store ecosystem then you are deluding yourself. While they do their best to keep such off the sales floors and do what they can, they can be found lurking around any grocery store in America.
The real reason the wet market is the assumed contact point is it is the central shopping location. Going to the wet market in Asia is no different than going to Walmart, Target, or Kroger to buy groceries and incidentals. Shutting down wet markets would be the equivalent of shutting down all the grocery stores in the US and telling people that they can now only buy groceries at the dollar store or 7–11.
Ray Hart Digital Nomad Co-Living Davao City and San Diego
It is not just the Chinese. Human being had always eaten all these animals before industrialization and urbanization happened. People living in cities are far away from wild animals food resources so slowly they changed their diet to only farm raised animals. People living near to wild animals still consume wild caught meat. This is true in every country in the world. This is actually the natural way of living. Wild caught meat do have higher risk of carrying unknown virus as they were not given various kind of vaccine or drugs to fend off the virus. However, these animals do not suffered the long term torture of spending their whole life in cramped captivity.
Bats were eaten almost to extinction in Italy Bat as food - Wikipedia It is still widely consumed in Africa and south east Asia. I had seen people openly slaughter bats, snakes and other wild animals in the wet market in my country. Not China, not Chinese. My town had easy access to rainforest with abundance of wild animals. It is traditional. It is natural for the natives to consume wild caught meat. It is free. Commercial farm raised animals is a very new concept to them. Like just 30 or 40 years at most. There are laws against hunting without permit now. However, one may still hunt with permit except for some protected species. Yes, I agree that there is risk.
No one created the virus (let's eliminate the possibility of bioweapon here). Microorganisms are prone to mutation naturally. Even our human body cells mutated easily. Think cancer cells. Maybe every living organism has survival code in them. Human advance medicines had prevented a lot of microorganisms from attacking one of their hosts, humans. The number of wild animals decreased. The virus are in dire situation. They could not find enough host to continue their genetic codes. The only way is for them to mutate and become stronger so they could attack more hosts. Well, this is just a theory but I do believe that sooner or later the nature is going to cut down the number of human beings. Because our numbers is just too big and overwhelming. Being the country with most number of people. It is just normal that virus outbreak is more prone to happen in China. Where there are more hosts, there are more virus. When there are more virus, it is easier to get mutated virus. Just my unprofessional theory.
There is actually no proof that the virus started specifically from bats. What the Chinese authorities discovered was that there were samples found to have the virus protein on them. Most of them are from the wild caught animals section. So they believed that wild animals might be the source.
However, there could also be another possibility. The wild animals might have caught the virus from human being. Maybe it was the hunter. Maybe it was the transporter. Since this virus is not 100% deadly. The hunter might be just a carrier. Hunters who live in rough condition usually have higher immune system than city folks. It is generally known that people grew up in dirty slump has stronger immune systems against contaminated foods and drinks. Some people might have natural resistance to some virus. So these animals caught it from a human hunter. Brought to a city market which has all the condition for it to spread fast.
Or, this virus might already be dormant inside an wuhan resident. It mutated at one time. This person not realizing it. He loves wild caught meat. Maybe he just love to watch the animals like I did when I was little. Maybe he knew someone working there and always went there to say hello. Spent the most time at the wild meat section where there is a lot of living animals. Hence explained why most samples are from wild caught section but not all of them.
I could be totally wrong because I only got a little bit of information and is just doing wild guessing.
I have a few questions if it is from the wild animals:
Where are the hunters and transporters now?
Did the hunters and transporters get infected?
Is there any news about some distance village where this virus attacked the village where the hunters live? (Haven't heard about it)
Is it possible that the first patient might be the first host where this virus mutated?
I am not a scientist. Not a professional. Just a commoner with wild imagination.
David Johnson, Library Computer Person
Not really any more than any other animals are known to carry “horrible diseases." Pigs and chickens, for instance, are the source of many of our epidemics.
And, anyway, that whole “coronovirus started because someone ate a bat" story is, not to put too fine a point on it, bullshit.:
“Don’t Blame Bat Soup for the Wuhan Virus
Racist memes target Chinese eating habits, but the real causes of the coronavirus are more mundane.
BY JAMES PALMER
JANUARY 27, 2020, 6:40 PM
As news of the Wuhan virus spread online, one video became emblematic of its claimed origin: It showed a young Chinese woman, supposedly in Wuhan, biting into a virtually whole bat as she held the creature up with chopsticks. Media outlets from the Daily Mail to RT promoted the video, as did a number of prominent extremist bloggers such as Paul Joseph Watson. Thousands of Twitter users blamed supposedly “dirty” Chinese eating habits—in particular the consumption of wildlife—for the outbreak, said to have begun at a so-called wet market that sold animals in Wuhan, China.
There was just one problem. The video wasn’t set in Wuhan at all, where bat isn’t a delicacy. It wasn’t even from China. Instead it showed Wang Mengyun, the host of an online travel show, eating a dish in Palau, a Pacific island nation. Sampling the bat was simply an addition to the well-trodden cannon of adventurism and enthusiasm for unusual foods that numerous American chefs and travel hosts have shown in the past.
At a time of heightened fear over a viral pandemic, the Palau video has been deployed in the United States and Europe to renew an old narrative about the supposedly disgusting eating habits of foreigners, especially Asians. Images of Chinese people or other Asians eating insects, snakes, or mice frequently circulate on social media or in clickbait news stories. This time, that was mixed with another old racist idea: that the “dirty” Chinese are carriers of disease. Many Americans long believed that, as the New York Daily Tribune wrote in 1854, Chinese people were “uncivilized, unclean, filthy beyond all conception.” Today, those same ideas have often been transferred to other groups such as South American refugees, yet they still persist in the way some Westerners think about China.
At a time of heightened fear over a viral pandemic, the Palau video has been deployed in the United States and Europe to renew an old narrative about the supposedly disgusting eating habits of foreigners, especially Asians.
These prejudices can fuel fear and racism. As the Wuhan virus spreads, the Chinese as a group are more and more likely to be blamed for its incubation and spread. In countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, where there are already clashes around ethnic Chinese, those sentiments could turn nasty. In the West, especially under the Trump administration, it could fuel both government and public prejudices.
To be sure, the treatment of wildlife may be at the root of the virus. Wet markets where live animals are sold, mostly for food or medicine, still exist in most Chinese cities, and the Huanan Seafood Market was originally believed to be the source of this outbreak. The Chinese government has banned the wildlife trade until the epidemic is over.
But as it turns out, the market may not have been the cause of the outbreak at all. A new study shows that the early known victims had no contact with the market. And although the virus, at present, does seem to have originated in bats, it’s unclear how it made its way to humans. It’s quite likely no chowing down on the creatures of the night was involved.”
随着武汉病毒的消息在网上传播，一段视频成为了其声称来源的象征：视频显示，一名年轻的中国妇女，据说在武汉，用筷子托起扁蝠时，咬了几乎整只扁蝠。从《每日邮报》到RT（今日俄罗斯）的媒体都在宣传这段视频，保罗·约瑟夫·沃森（Paul Joseph Watson）等一些著名的极端主义博主也是如此。数千名推特用户将此次疫情归咎于所谓的“肮脏”的中国饮食习惯，特别是野生动物的食用，这次病毒爆发据说是在中国武汉一个出售动物的所谓潮湿市场开始的。
在人们对病毒大流行的恐惧加剧之际，帕劳的视频被发布到美国和欧洲，以重温关于外国人，特别是亚洲人据称令人厌恶的饮食习惯的旧说法。中国人或其他亚洲人吃昆虫、蛇或老鼠的图片经常在社交媒体或点击诱饵新闻中传播。这一次，这与另一个古老的种族主义思想混杂在一起：即“肮脏”的中国人是疾病的携带者。许多美国人一直认为，正如《纽约每日论坛报》（the New York Daily Tribune）在1854年所写的那样，中国人是“不文明、不洁、肮脏的，这是所有人都无法想象的”。如今，这些同样的观念常常被转移到其他群体，如南美难民，但他们仍然坚持一些西方人对中国的看法。