Tuesday, March 10, 2020

My Journal of the Plague Quarter #2 - Pangolins

I just read a humorous article re. coronavirus that suggested we not eat bats or pangolins. That was #7 on the list after such things as sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands, avoid close contact with sick people, avoid large crowds, stay home if you are sick, blah, blah, blah, and I realized that until recently I had no idea what a pangolin was and why anyone would eat one, and then I saw a news video about the "wet markets" in China, large, concentrated areas of cages and cages of live animals of all sorts that we in the western world do not ever, ever, ever, ever eat, such as "Himalayan palm civets, raccoon dogs, wild boars and cobras." Well, maybe wild boars. And pangolins.

Customers pick an animal which is then quickly dispatched and made ready for takeout, folded, most likely, in a day old Chinese newspaper. "One pangolin to go," a Chinese vendor will shout out. In America, we at least have the good taste for the most part to slaughter our animals out of sight, out of mind, to then be found in a well lit, refrigerated display, wrapped in clear non-biodegradable plastic with a Styrofoam bottom that lasts longer than every Chinese dynasty that ever existed stretched end to end. A "wet market" in exotic animals in Wuhan, China is where the novel coronavirus originated, transmitted from bats to pangolins to humans. Pangolins are an armored mammal that looks like an armadillo, an artichoke, and a large rat made whoopee and had an offspring. Pangolins are an endangered species in China and probably taste like chicken which begs the question why not just swing by the local Wuhan Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise on the way home from work?

I also saw a news video which tracked the very complicated history of the post-revolutionary Communist Chinese government's centralized attempt to regulate food markets which led to food shortages and starvation, during which rural populations hunted and ate whatever they could, after which the Communist Party allowed individual farmers to breed and slaughter wild animals in captivity and sell in private markets, which gained political and lobbying power strong enough to expand the "wet market" phenomena which has led to multiple pandemics because of the proximity of disease carrying animals which formerly had not been widely handled and eaten. So like I said, why not just swing by the Wuhan Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise and get some original recipe or extra crispy eight-piece dinner with a choice of sides? Or Popeye's.


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