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Covid 19: Why Not Start with the Wet Markets?

Paola Cavalieri

The Covid 19 crisis that is ravaging the world, killing thousands and infecting millions, subverting democracies and exacerbating autocracies through state of emergency, and uprooting, starving or pauperizing entire populations, has a geopolitical origin – Wuhan, China – a socio-anthropological origin – the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market – and a biological origin – the mixture of blood and bowels and excrement of wild and human bred nonhuman animals slaughtered in so-called wet markets.[i]

In traditional wet markets of tropical and subtropical areas of the planet, sentient nonhuman individuals are reduced to mere things to be tampered with. Wet markets sell, in open air stalls, live chickens, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and insects, huddled together and sharing their breath, their blood and their faeces. Live fish splash in tubs of water while ice melts all over the floor. The workbenches are inundated with the blood of the fish eviscerated right in front of the customers. Live turtles, crabs and frogs scramble over each other in dirty stacked cages. The slush on the floor is scattered with fish scales. Everywhere there is water, blood, and innards of slaughtered animals.

Beyond the market, global agricultural capitalism, which has generated and is constantly spreading the modern phenomenon of factory farms, is penetrating long-established agrosystems. In booming China, where corporate giants already carry out extensive operations, capitalism also pervades traditional rural activities, broadening the customary local lines of wildlife trafficking. Much of the outcome of these undertakings converges in allegedly “primitive” wet markets, from which it circulates not only domestically but also through planetary webs of commodity exchange. 

In the face of the present planetary havoc, mere decency and a simple precautionary principle would require a global and permanent ban of those extreme and fatal expressions of nonhuman commodification at the crossroad between cultural archaism and capitalistic modernity which the wet markets instantiate. Yet, WHO’s food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek’ stated that “authorities should focus on improving them rather than outlawing them — even though they can sometimes spark epidemics in humans [italics mine],”[ii] and, except for a few isolated voices, endeavours to analyze, and to respond to, what happened by thinkers with different backgrounds appear to be marked either by repression, or by misconstruction, of the issues at stake.


How should one interpret and face this pandemic? Many journals, for example the French Philosophie Magazine, have tried to offer an overview of the major intellectual reactions. From this, as from other sources, one can gather that the responses in the area of theoretical reflection show little grasp of the events. Thus, Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, after stigmatizing the racist paranoia now allegedly at work (“remember all the fantasies about the dirty old Chinese women in Wuhan skinning live snakes and slurping bat soup”[iii]), and after seeing quarantined Wuhan as “the image of non-consumerist world at ease with itself”[iv], foreshadows an alternate society, a society beyond nation-state, based on full unconditional solidarity and on a universally coordinated response. And since, on this view, the coronavirus will compel us “to re-invent communism”[v] in the form of some kind of global organization that can control and regulate the economy,[vi] one may infer that “even horrible events can have unpredictable positive consequences.”[vii] With a caveat, however: that we resist the temptation to treat this epidemic as something that has a deeper meaning – the punishment of humanity for the ruthless exploitation of other forms of life on earth[viii]. For, though “we matter in some profound way,” the  epidemic is merely a result of natural contingency: it just happened and what it shows is that, in the larger order of things, “we are just a species with no special importance.”[ix] Thus, with a bit of sleight of hand reinforced by some make-believe scenarios, human consumptive responsibility vanishes into thin air.

If Zizek disregards the role of humans in causing the pandemic, other authors downplay the role of the pandemic in producing the present situation. Another post-Marxist philosopher, the Italian Antonio Negri, claims that neoliberalism has now reached a point of crisis which paves the way for new struggles against ongoing forms of exploitation. And, though mentioning that the unprecedented emergency of Covid 19 has shown the limits of neoliberal policies with respect “to nature, to pollution, to all what is behind this pandemic,” he hastens to add that one can find crucial codeterminants in current social fights like the Gilets Jaunes protests in France or the industrial strikes in Italy. In his conclusion, he definitely bars the way to any prospect of straying from his main storyline, stating that “the crisis is internal, and necessary, to capital.”[x]

The idea of an “internality” of the crisis is shared by another voice from the philosophical galaxy – that of the Italian Giorgio Agamben, whose more pessimistic biopolitical stance focuses, rather than on capitalism, on the exercise of sovereignty. In his case, therefore, the crux of  the internalist interpretation is the idea that, in a context where authorities endeavour to create panic, thereby provoking a state of exception and framing new forms of despotism,[xi] the total absence of opposition shows that “the plague was already there” – that people’s living conditions had become such that an abrupt signsufficed to unveil their intolerability.[xii] A sign of what, one might ask? Admittedly, at one point Agamben seems to point to outer factors, when he mentions a scientist’s claim that the hypertrophic growth of technological devices aimed at adapting the environment to human beings can reach a threshold where it becomes counterproductive[xiii]. Even this sensible observation, nonetheless, is soon overridden by references to the crossing, by panic-stricken citizens, of a more abstruse threshold – the one “that separates humanity from barbarism.”[xiv]

If Agamben is not overly preoccupied with the possible consequences of human manipulation of the environment, German philosopher Peter Sloterdijk seems more prone to consider the threats deriving from future pandemics.  “We have been existing as a giant Petri dish for microbial experiments for a while,”[xv] he states.  Does this mean that he is interested in the origin of Covid 19?  Not so. First, what he blames for the recent outbreaks is not the source but the medium of diffusion, namely, the explosion of world traffic, since globalization means “easier journeys for microbes.”[xvi] Second, what he focuses on is not avoidance of, but mere reaction to, plagues, to the point that, though fearing that Western systems might result just as authoritarian as that of China,[xvii] he is so
appreciative of the current surveillance by scientists as to envisage a world web of researchers working together beyond borders. Dwelling on the theme of an immunological community at risk requiring planetary solidarity, he relaunches his philosophical idea of the necessity of co-immunism – a sort of basic ethics focusing on mutual protection among human beings –[xviii]  while everything nonhuman fades into the background.

There exists, however, an apparently different, nonconformist view. Alain Badiou, the dean of Leftist French philosophers, does not see in the lockdown discipline anything more than a form of basic protection for the weakest, and dismisses the dream of revolutionary changes as a “dangerous reverie.” Rather, expanding the perspective, he observes that, since an epidemic is a point of articulation between natural and social determinations, it is necessary to grasp the points where the determinations intersect. Thus, on the one hand he openly mentions the Chinese wet markets, well known for “the outdoor sale of all kinds of crammed live animals,” ascribing the origin of the virus to that unclean popular environment. And, on the other, he stresses the access of Chinese state capitalism to an imperial rank, so that China is a place of intersection between an interface nature-society in shabby, ancient markets – the punctual cause of the appearance of the infection – and a planetary diffusion of this point of origin, due to the world capitalist market’s incessant movement. But on what does his criticism focus in the face of this state of affairs? Perhaps on the terminal exploitation of defenceless members of nonhuman species and on the high riskiness of such an exploitation? No. What shocks him, again, is the diffusion of “typically racist” fables according to which everything stems from the fact that the Chinese eat “almost alive bats.” And, given this lack of preoccupation with, and scrutiny of, the “point of origin,” no wonder that his antidotes to the pandemics remain confined to an after-the-event approach, focusing on the defence of public health care, social services for the elderly, or egalitarian education. All this pace any concluding resolution to work “mentally as in writing… to new figures of politics, to the project of new political places.”[xix]

All in all, then, it seems that most philosophers tend to remain locked in their theories, forcing any new unusual event into their preferred matrix. As has been observed, “The pandemic presents itself as a sort of experimentum crucis, allowing one to verify hypotheses that range from politics to the effects of globalization … up to the heights of the most rarefied metaphysical reflection.”[xx] This philosophical veneer, on the other hand, easily conceals and represses an aspect of reality towards which the theories in question traditionally exhibit refractoriness, that is, the human relationship with the other-than-human world – be it a matter of the other animals, the environment, or even viruses. As a consequence, the few critiques implicating the origins of the pandemic, redirecting any external reflection to a self-referential social world, essentially focus on the theme that one should not point at practices typical of some Eastern countries, as this implies the risk that phenomena like wet markets are “racially pathologized”[xxi] in discourses dominated by orientalist (that is, Western-biased) stereotypes.[xxii] But, apart from the fact that it might smell of orientalism to flatten Eastern societies out into a uniform conservatism, totally overlooking the existing opposition to traditional practices, and that it is clearly misleading to depict China, which aggressively propagates its state capitalism in a struggle against other capitalisms, as a possible object of discrimination and vilification, what all this in the end conjures up is the idea that nothing was wrong with, and no one is to blame for, what happened at the Huanan Market in Wuhan, China.


The overall picture changes if one turns to positions more informed by science, that cannot ignore the actuality of, and the risks entailed by, forms of close promiscuity between humans and nonhumans in particular circumstances. Accordingly, many are the authors who, in dealing with the pandemic, point to the phenomenon of wet markets. They do this, however, in a sort of passing way, without fully exploring its dramatic facets – and this even when they are avowedly committed to the denunciation of the status quo, and to the building of a less dangerous and unbalanced world. Thus, the analysis of the events in Wuhan presented in a co-written work by the members of Chuǎng – a collective of communists persuaded that the ‘China question’ is central to capitalist contradictions – though considering the interface of the social-economic sphere with the biological, eventually merely dwell on the boost given to viruses by social conditions and on the “contradictions built into the nature of production and proletarian life under capitalism;” [xxiii] and an essay by British Marxist Joseph Choonara, after offering a survey of both the remote antecedents and the proximate causes of the crisis, devotes all its attention to the economic impact of Covid 19 and to a “socialist response” to it.[xxiv] But the most exemplary case, which is also the guiding light for most other interventions, is the position articulated by the evolutionary biologist Rob Wallace, a long time expert on the links between industrial agribusiness and novel diseases.[xxv] During the coronavirus emergency, Wallace has reiterated his views, in particular in an article co-authored with three colleague scientists, tellingly entitled “COVID-19 and Circuits of Capital.”[xxvi]

Wallace’s position can be summarized as follows. The ever more frequent emergence of new pathogens is linked to the recent global expansion of circuits of agribusiness capital. Such an expansion, characterized by changes in company management structure, subcontracting and supply chain substitutions, and by a reconfiguration of extractivist activities into spatially discontinuous networks straddling national borders, destroys the regional environmental complexity that curbs the growth of infectious agents, thus increasing the frequency of spillover events. In turn, such events easily blossom into pandemics due to the combined effect of the expanding periurban commodity circuits that dispatch the new pathogens from the farthest hinterland to the facilities and markets  of the main cities, as well as of the growing global travel and trade webs that distribute them from the cities to the rest of the planet at record speed. 

Covid 19 offers a good instance of this process. The virus appeared at one extremity of a regional supply line in wildlife, successfully triggering a human-to-human chain of transmission in Wuhan; from there, the epidemic simultaneously disseminated regionally and jumped onto planes and any other means of transport, spreading out across the planet. However, Wallace stresses, if the new coronavirus originated on the frontiers of capital production, other pathogens, like e.g. the bacteria of Salmonella and Campylobacter, emerged right out of centers of production. And this because the recent, recurrent pandemics are the combined effect of two facets of contemporary agribusiness. On the front of more traditional activities, realities like wildlife trafficking and wet markets, though customary in some countries, are growingly capitalized and driven by an expanding industrial production deeper into the primary landscape, dredging out a variety of potentially protopandemic pathogens; and, simultaneously, many smallholders are subsumed into global production by being converted intocontractors raising animals for industrial processing along the forest edge, thus opening the possibility that an animal may get a pathogen before being sent to an industrial unit. In factory farms, on the other hand, crowded conditions lower immune response, and raising animals with almost identical genomes eliminates immune firebreaks that in more varied populations abate transmission, so that pathogens can quickly evolve; and while larger animal population sizes and densities facilitate greater transmission and recurrent infection, the constant replacement of individuals affords a continually renewed supply of susceptibles and the shortening of the age of slaughter—to six weeks in chickens—may select for pathogens that can survive stronger immune systems. Given this context, it is clear that multinational agricultural enterprises privatize profits while externalizing the costs of their epidemiologically dangerous operations on everyone else.

After dealing with idiosyncratic or vague approaches that try to cope with the crisis eschewing its systemic causes, to turn to the diagnosis offered by Rob Wallace is intellectually sobering. Concurring as it does in the construction of a powerful reply to the question that, though mostly overlooked, is absolutely pressing, “why did all this happen?”, such a diagnosis deserves not only more attention, but also a more circumstantial analysis. Is such an approach satisfying? Certainly, its descriptive component is enlightening. But Wallace’s discourse contains evaluative and prescriptive components as well. Clearly, the basic evaluative judgment is that a system which, like contemporary industrial agribusiness, exploits and imperils people and brutally appropriates nature, is unacceptable.[xxvii] The main prescriptive indication is equally clear: what we must pursue is an ecosocialism which mends the metabolic rift between ecology and economy, braiding together “a new world-system, indigenous liberation, farmer autonomy, strategic rewilding, and place-specific agroecologies.”[xxviii]  Is there any place for the liberation of nonhuman beings in such a scheme? Apparently not. Indeed, in “thecreaturely communism far from the Soviet model” we must realize as a response to practices that endanger humanity,[xxix] nonhumans, fully objectified in the form of food animals, will continue to be grown and slaughtered – though possibly by smallholders and on-site.[xxx] 

The premise to this stance – that is, that while human beings cannot be exploited and commodified, nonhuman beings, having inferior moral status, can be lightheartedly used as means to human ends – being part of the doxa, or of what “goes without saying because it comes without saying,”[xxxi] is not  articulated, but clearly emerges not only from the prospects of the future society, but also  from Wallace’s global attitude. Indeed, amid repeated preoccupations with human vulnerability to pathogens and exploitation, Wallace does not recoil from regarding the billions of nonhumans butchered along the circuits of capital merely as the “throughput” of the agricultural industry. Of course, this not a scientific stance – it’s a moral stance, which cannot simply be smuggled in, but must be justified ethically. And one may doubt that Wallace can do it. If seen from the perspective of rational ethics, the discrimination against other animals is unsustainable for a intra-human egalitarian like Wallace. For it is of course inconsistent to reject racism as a discrimination based on a morally irrelevant biological characteristic without rejecting the equally grounded discrimination of speciesism, just as it is inconsistent to reject discrimination based on cognitive endowment in the case of impaired human beings without rejecting the same perfectionist discrimination in the case of animals.[xxxii]  

There is, however, a more pointed objection to Wallace’s stance concerning animals which appeals not to his generic egalitarianism, but rather to his specific ideological framework – to his criticism of “reifying finance,” and to his revulsion for global capitalism’s universal commodification.[xxxiii] For it is just the most radical attack launched by Western Marxism on instrumental reason and on capitalism as its most dramatic expression, fruit of the Frankfurt School reflection, which forthrightly counts nonhumans among the subjects which the global system of domination turns into objects and apprehends in terms of manipulation and administration, converting all Being into a “repeatable, replaceable process.”[xxxiv] Within this framework, moreover, the critique of the “perfected exploitation of the animal world”[xxxv] is made even sharper by the fact that animal subjugation appears as what antecedes and upholds any other form of abuse – as the “the animal hell” which occupies the basement of  human society –  and, therefore, as an unavoidable target of any critique of any oppressive system.[xxxvi] The breath of such an approach to the architectonics of power, that, not being arbitrarily constrained by a humanistic frame, can really encompass all the “multifold hierarchies of oppression”[xxxvii]  involved in the emergence of Covid 19 in Wuhan intimates that any critique of dominion that disregards nonhuman beings might be not only ethically misguided but also politically misconstrued.

Why not start with the wet markets?

“As five hundred years of war and pestilence demonstrate, the sources of capital… are more than willing to scale mountains made of body bags.”[xxxviii] Thus Wallace. What he – not to mention the other “critical” intellectuals – doesn’t see, however, is that the sources of capital have long been, and are actually, scaling mountains of dismembered animal corpses. And in the face of the erasure of this larger picture, one can wonder whether a Left which not only doesn’t dare to challenge the global meat eating habits of those who are now ravaged by Covid 19, but impassively witnesses even the further evils which the pandemic inflicts on the other animals – terrific mass “culling” of unwanted nonhumans in farms and laboratories, new experiments for the vaccine, abandonment of once exploited beings[xxxix]  – might not be itself  just the fruit of that elite’s “impositions in Gramscian hegemony”[xl] to which Wallace refers.

True, it is not easy to develop forms of counter hegemony that might enable the dominated to question the prevailing grids. But first, as any transformative movement knows, at the cultural level, unlike at the structural level, where the disparity of forces is overwhelming, political dissenters are not unarmed.[xli] And second, counter-culture is only one among various political routes – another is a politics of confronting, and challenging, laws and institutions.[xlii] And, if one wants to start eroding the present system of universal reification with its cortege of global risks, there is no sounder place to start from than wet markets. For reforms should focus on the weak links in the chain to be broken. And, while a direct attack on giant agribusiness is now hardly conceivable, it is not unthinkable to obtain a global ban of that peripheral but crucial junction in the exploitative and pathogenic chain which is the unconscionable practice of wet markets. International law has a panoply of instruments which might regulate this question[xliii] and, though there would certainly be strong opposition from the affected economic sectors, and possibly from their protector governments, the planetary economic impact of the contemporary pandemic, let alone of the likely future ones, should reasonably clear the way for such a move.[xliv]

Actually, there already is a trend in this direction. Many animal organizations have launched international campaigns to shut down wet markers,[xlv] several leading figures have publicly intervened in this sense,[xlvi] and some legislative attempts are in the works,[xlvii] while Chinese government itself is wavering.[xlviii] Such a trend could be nurtured and empowered.

Undoubtedly, in case it were obtained, the outright ban of the practice of wet markets would not be the end of the story. The animal movement would have made only a small, though significant, step towards the emancipation of the billions of nonhumans exploited and killed on this planet, and “everyday people”[xlix] in the world would simply partially avert one of the risks inflicted by global capitalism, otherwise remaining locked in all the problems they had before the pandemic. However, a possible victory would not be only a victory – is would be also a source of experience, and a stepping stone for future progress.


[i]   See Peter Singer and Paola Cavalieri, “The Two Dark Faces of Covid 19,” Project Syndicate, March 2, 2020, at https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/wet-markets-breeding-ground-for-new-coronavirus-by-peter-singer-and-paola-cavalieri-2020-03?barrier=accesspaylog.. See also https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-51364382;  https://www.internationalsos.com/pandemic-sites/pandemic/home/2019-ncov?sc_lang=en&page=7

[ii]  https://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/market-virus-started-closed-70574034

[iii]  Slavoj Zizek, “My dream of Wuhan,” Welt, January 22, 2020, at https://www.welt.de/kultur/article205630967/Slavoj-Zizek-My-Dream-of-Wuhan.html

[iv]  Ibid.

[v]  Slavoj Zizek, “Welcome to the Viral Desert,” InDepthNews, April 12, 2020, at https://www.indepthnews.net/index.php/opinion/3454-welcome-to-the-viral-desert-coronavirus-and-the-reinvention-of-communism

[vi]   According to Zizek,  a model for this new institution might be the World Health Organization: Slavoj Zizek,Coronavirus is ‘Kill Bill’-esque blow to capitalism and could lead to reinvention of communism,”  RT.COM, February 27, 2020, athttps://www.rt.com/op-ed/481831-coronavirus-kill-bill-capitalism-communism/

[vii]  S. Zizek, “My dream of Wuhan,” cit.

[viii]  Slavoj Zizek, Pandemic!: Covid-19 Shakes the World, OR Books, New York 2020, p. 14.

[ix]   Slavoj Zizek, “Dans l’ordre supérieus des choses, nous sommes une espèce qui ne compte pas,” Philosophie Magazine n. 58, avril 2020, p. 18.

[x]     All the quotations come from the transcription of Antonio Negri’s radio interview Coronavirus, la fase attuale ed il futuro, March 21, 2020, Radio Onda d’Urto, at  https://www.radiondadurto.org/2020/03/21/coronavirus-la-fase-attuale-ed-il-futuro-lintervista-a-toni-negri/

[xi]    Giorgio Agamben, “Un réel besoin d’états de panique collective,” Philosophie Magazine n. 58, avril 2020, p. 20. Original version at: https://ilmanifesto.it/lo-stato-deccezione-provocato-da-unemergenza-immotivata/; https://www.quodlibet.it/giorgio-agamben-nuove-riflessioni

[xii]  Giorgio Agamben, “Riflessioni sulla peste,” Quodlibet, March 27, 2020, at https://www.quodlibet.it/giorgio-agamben-riflessioni-sulla-peste

[xiii]  Giorgio Agamben, “Nuove rifessioni,” Quodlibet, March 27, 2020, at https://www.quodlibet.it/giorgio-agamben-nuove-riflessioni. The scientist is the Dutch anatomist Louis Bolk.

[xiv]  Giorgio Agamben, “Una domanda,” Quodlibet, April 13, 2020, at https://www.quodlibet.it/giorgio-agamben-una-domanda

[xv]  See Peter Sloterdijk’s interview “Non c’è più spazio per le esagerazioni,” Sovrapposizioni, May 9, 2020, at: https://www.sovrapposizioni.com/blog/non-c-pi-spazio-per-le-esagerazioni. (Original version at https://www.zeit.de/2020/16/peter-sloterdijk-corona-krise-gesundheitspolitik)

[xvi]  Ibid.

[xvii]  See Peter Sloterdijk,  “Le système occidental va se révéler aussi autoritaire que celui de la Chine,”  Le Point, March 18, 2020, at https://www.lepoint.fr/politique/sloterdijk-le-systeme-occidental-va-se-reveler-aussi-autoritaire-que-celui-de-la-  chine-18-03-2020-2367624_20.php

[xviii]           P.  Sloterdijk, “Non c’è più spazio,” cit.

[xix]  All the quotations come from Alain Badiou,  “Sur la situation épidemique,” Quartier Général, March 26, 2020, at https://qg.media/2020/03/26/sur-la-situation-epidemique-par-alain-badiou/

[xx]  See Rocco Ronchi, “Le virtù del virus,” Doppiozero, March 8, 2020, at https://www.doppiozero.com/materiali/le-virtu-del-virus

[xxi]  The phrase comes from Nicole Shukin, Animal Capital: Rendering Life in Biopolitical Times, University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis 2009, p. 209.

[xxii] On this problem see also Paola Cavalieri, “La campagne contre les marches humides et l’accusation d’orientalisme,” L’Amorce, April 28, 2020. at  https://lamorce.co/la-campagne-contre-les-marches-humides-et-laccusation-dorientalisme/

[xxiii]  Chuang, “Social contagion. Microbiological Class War in China,” at http://chuangcn.org/2020/02/social-contagion/

[xxiv] Joseph Choonara, “Socialism in a time of pandemics,” International Socialism, Issue 166, March 22, 2020, at  http://isj.org.uk/socialism-in-a-time-of-pandemics/

[xxv] See in particular Rob Wallace, BIg Farms Make Big Flu: Dispatches on Infectious Disease, Agribusiness, and the Nature of Science, Monthly Review Pr, New York 2016.

[xxvi]           Rob Wallace, Alex Liebman, Luis Fernando Chaves and Rodrick Wallace, “COVID 19 and Circuits of Capital,” The Monthly Review, May 1, 2020, at https://monthlyreview.org/2020/05/01/covid-19-and-circuits-of-capital/

[xxvii]          Ibid. See also Rob Wallace, “Capitalist agriculture and Covid-19: A deadly combination,” Climate & Capitalism, March 11, 2020, at https://climateandcapitalism.com/2020/03/11/capitalist-agriculture-and-covid-19-a-deadly-combination/

[xxviii]  Rob Wallace, “Notes on a novel coronavirus,” MRonline, January 29, 2020, at  https://mronline.org/2020/01/29/notes-on-a-novel-coronavirus/

[xxix]  Ibid.

[xxx]  R. Wallace et al., “COVID 19 and Circuits of Capital,” cit.

[xxxi]  See Pierre Bourdieu, Outline of a Theory of Practice, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1977, pp. 167-168.

[xxxii]          For a more detailed presentation of the arguments, see Paola Cavalieri, The Animal Question, Oxford University Press, New York 2001.  

[xxxiii]  R. Wallace et al., “COVID 19 and Circuits of Capital,” cit.

[xxxiv]         Max Horkheimer and Theodor W. Adorno. Dialectic of Enlightenment, Stanford University Press, Palo Alto, CA 2002, pp. 65 ff. See also pp. 206 ff.

[xxxv]          Ibid. p. 204.

[xxxvi]         Max Horkheimer, “Wolkenkratzer,” in Dämmerung Notizen in Deutschland, Fischer, Frankfurt 1974 (first published in Zurich in 1934 under the alias of Heinrich Regius), quoted in Renate Brucker. Animal Rights and Human Progress. Paper read at the conference on Animals in History, May 18-21, 2005, at the Literatur House, Cologne, p.11. Theodor Adorno, on his part, observes that the “possibility of pogrom is decided in the moment when the gaze of a fatally wounded animal falls on a human being: see T. Adorno, Minima Moralia. Reflections from Damaged Life, Verso, London 1978, p. 68. Against this background, another member of the School, Herbert Marcuse, suggests that no free society is imaginable which does not make the concerted effort to reduce consistently the suffering which human beings impose on the animal world: see H. Marcuse, “Nature and Revolution,” in H. Marcuse, Counterrevolution and Revolt, Beacon Press, Boston 1972, p. 68.

[xxxvii]        R. Wallace et al., “COVID 19 and Circuits of Capital,” cit.

[xxxviii]       R. Wallace, “Notes on a novel coronavirus,” cit.

[xxxix]         See e.g. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/19/millions-of-us-farm-animals-to-be-culled-by-   suffocation-drowning-and-shooting-coronavirus; https://today.rtl.lu/news/world/a/1530159.html; https://sentientmedia.org/hidden-video-reveals-gruesome-mass-extermination-method-for-iowa-pigs-amid-pandemic/

[xl]    R. Wallace, “Notes on a novel coronavirus,” cit.

[xli]   See e.g, Pierre Bourdieu, “For a Scholarship with Commitment,” in P. Bourdieu, Sociology is a Martial Art,ed. Gisele Sapiro, The New Press, New York 2010.

[xlii]  On the importance of this strategy see Gregory Smulewicz-Zucker, “Bringing the State into Animal Rights Politics,” in Paola Cavalieri, ed., Philosophy and the politics of animal liberation, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, New York 2016).

[xliii] On the animal front see e.g. Anne Peters, ed., Studies in Global Animal Law, Max-Planck-Institut für ausländisches öffentliches Recht und Völkerrecht, Springer Nature, Berlin 2020. As for the health front see the picture presented in Brigit Toebes, “International health law: an emerging field of public international law,” Indian Journal of International Law. Vol. 55, 2016, pp. 299–328, also at  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40901-016-0020-9

[xliv] Nor does it make sense to object, as it has been done (see e.g, https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-why-a-blanket-ban-on-wildlife-trade-would-not-be-the-right-response-135746) that an outright ban would favor, or leave room for, illegal wildlife trade, as this is what always happens when a practice is forbidden, and has never prevented in itself the enactment of a planned law.  

[xlv]  See e.g, the campaigns by PETA, https://headlines.peta.org/take-action-coronavirus-covid-19-live-animal-meat-close-wet-markets/ and Animal Equality, https://animalequality.org/news/animal-equality-launches-global-campaign-to-ban-wet-markets/, See also https://theecologist.org/2020/apr/07/ban-live-wild-animal-meat-markets and https://www.pcrm.org/news/news-releases/doctors-urge-surgeon-general-shut-down-us-live-animal-markets. https://theirturn.net/2020/03/30/inside-nycs-wet-markets-a-ticking-time-bomb/

[xlvi] See e.g. https://www.countable.us/articles/43629-dr-fauci-boggles-mind-china-allows-wet-markets-linked-viral-outbreaks-close-permanently; https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8215627/Scott-Morrison-criticism-World-Health-Organisation-support-Chinas-wet-markets.html

[xlvii]           https://newyork.cbslocal.com/2020/05/14/new-york-wet-markets-linda-rosenthal-bill/, https://vegnews.com/2020/5/lawmakers-officially-introduce-bill-to-ban-new-york-s-wet-animal-markets, https://yubanet.com/usa/lawmakers-in-california-and-new-york-to-introduce-legislation-to-ban-wet-markets-and-exotic-wildlife-trafficking-to-reduce-future-pandemic-risk-and-prevent-mass-extinction/, https://www.pcrm.org/news/news-releases/new-york-legislation-would-ban-live-animal-markets-control-spread-disease

[xlviii]          https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/illegal-wildlife-trade-online-china-shuts-markets-    200324040543868.html

[xlix] Rob Wallace’s definition in his interview “Capitalism is a disease hotspot,” MRonline, March 12,, 2020,  at https://mronline.org/2020/03/12/capitalism-is-a-disease-hotspot/