A View on Coronavirus; From Friend Lesley at ‘Eyes on Animals’ (NL).

Dear donors and friends,


This is not a usual newsletter, but more of a blog. In order to give a break to our volunteer translators during this difficult time, I am only writing in English. And it’s a longer read than usual. Thanks for your understanding.






What caused the Corona-virus?

When Emmanual Macron, president of France announced last week “we are at war against this virus” I could not help but wonder why so many leaders of the world are announcing a war against the virus, and not against the source of this virus. I was also wondering why most media were reporting only on the effects and deaths of the virus, and very little could be found about where it came from and why.

Of course, we want to beat this virus, find a vaccine against it and stop all the suffering of people. Not just for those lying in the hospital, but also those that have lost their jobs, are isolated and lonely, not able to visit their loved ones, not knowing how they will afford to support themselves now or later without a paycheck… But without a war on the way animals are caged, handled and slaughtered at such meat markets, we will never win “this war” as more viruses will come.



Wuhan live animal and meat market is not the only live animal market where exotic and domestic animals are mixed, kept in filthy tiny cages and forced to face days of extreme fear after being transported from far away. There are hundreds of thousands of these meat and exotic pet markets all over the world. I saw with my own eyes huge warehouses even in The Netherlands full of reptiles, arachnids, parrots and even hyenas imported from all over the world.



Without putting a stop to this wildlife trade, we will face more and more viruses that threaten humans. Corona is not the first case; HIV, SARS, MERS and Ebola also all came from handling and eating wild and stressed animals and led to massive human suffering on top of the obvious animal suffering.

And we also know that transporting farm animals around the world was causing the suffering of billions of animals when we had to “cull” them, often in horrific ways (gassing them here and in many other parts of the world burying them alive in huge pits) because of diseases breaking out and spreading like bush fire due to the sheer numbers and international transport of animals. Think of the avian flu, the African swine fever, Mad cow, Foot and Mouth… Why didn’t we fight the war against the cause off these viruses to put a stop to the suffering of these animals?

How do we win these wars? How do we put an end to the risk of causing more animal and human suffering?



Plants didn’t give us Corona

As you know, Eyes on Animals is not a radical organization. We do not see all animal transporters or even slaughterhouse managers as brutal murderers nor do we point fingers. We see that there is a food system started by all of us that is full of inherent problems and needs to change. A system that can only be changed by intelligent discussions, transparency and cooperation among all of us. We all want a good world where people, including animal farmers, transporters and slaughterers have a chance to have a happy and healthy life, the chance to work and be financially independent.

There have been many truck drivers and slaughterhouse personnel that have done their best at adopting better practices and shown genuine interest in improving animal welfare. But regardless, the system is too risky. Many people continue to think that we need to eat meat and dairy, or are worried about losing their jobs, should society stop eating meat and dairy. But that is not the case and where we can, we should now more than ever move to a plant-based diet.

Plants never caused virus among people. Plants never caused mass-cullings of innocent animals. Feeding people with plants will create new job opportunities. We see this more and more every day, with companies springing up everywhere selling everything from pea protein to pineapple leather. Even in Ghana we visited vegetarian and vegan restaurants.



Working for the animals – from home

The corona virus has made us at Eyes on Animals have to stay at home, but we have been incredibly busy trying to raise awareness about this important issue and prevent further animal suffering. We have been holding conference calls with other NGOs and together writing letters to the European Commission about the current risk of farm animals in transit and to breeders encouraging them to decrease breeding at the moment to avoid a back-log. We have been calling as many journalists as possible encouraging them to report more on the source of this virus, to expose the horrible animal suffering at these meat markets in China and beyond.

We are doing everything to help people recognize that this virus did not just come out of nowhere, but that similar situations can and should be prevented in the future, and will bring back hope to people. Bring back a sense of control for our future.




Now more than ever is the time to educate ourselves and spread this news. Now more than ever it is time to, respectfully, phase out our dependence on meat and dairy products and replace them with the production of more plant-based foods.

Below is a list of articles we collected about the source of the corona virus that make for very interesting reading and watching. Please pass these on to friends and colleagues, particularly ones still unaware of these issues.


In Dutch
OneWorld Waarom vechten we tegen Corona zonder de oorzaak te bespreken
Jort Kelder in RTL Boulevard


In English
60 Minutes Australia – Excellent documentary about corona and its source
Video message from Dr. Jane Goodal, world renowned ethologist

The Guardian Billion-dollar wildlife industry in Vietnam under assault as law drafted to halt trading
The Guardian ‘Nature is taking back Venice’: wildlife returns to tourist-free city
The Guardian ‘Tip of the iceberg’: is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?
The Guardian Cattle Gridlock: EU border delays add to coronavirus strain on meat trade
The Animal Reader This pandemic is our fault: stop exploiting animals
Brussels Times Coronavirus: Humans suffer but also animals in transport over borders


We hope you and your loved ones will stay healthy and safe. With best wishes from us all,

Lesley Moffat
director of Eyes on Animals







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