Wildlife markets and wet markets


Since the emergence of covid-19, there has been a lot of talk about wildlife markets and wet markets.
But what’s the difference?


A wildlife market is a market in which wild animals, or parts and products derived from them, are traded and sold. This might be as food, for medicine, for the exotic pet trade, or for many other purposes, and the animals may be derived from the wild, or produced on farms or ranches. 

In many wildlife markets, wild animals of many different species may be traded live and slaughtered on site, often in appalling and unhygienic conditions. It is in these markets where the risk of viruses and other pathogens passing from wild animals to people is highest.



A wet market is generally taken to mean a market where fresh produce – meat, fish, vegetables etc – is traded. Wet markets get their name from their association with water, ice and other fluids. Wet markets may or may not sell wild animals and wildlife products. 

Born Free is calling for an end to commercial wildlife markets and the commercial trade in wild animals for any purpose, in order to help protect species from extinction, prevent animal cruelty, and reduce the risk to human health.