Sir Paul McCartney has called for an end to China’s “medieval” wet markets, amid widespread – though so far unproven – claims they are the source of the coronavirus pandemic.
The former Beatle, 77, is isolating at home in Sussex, with daughter Mary and her family. Sir Paul said wife Nancy is in New York.
During an appearance on Howard Stern’s Sirius XM radio show, Sir Paul discussed China’s wet markets, where fresh meat and fish is sold. Some have blamed sites in Wuhan for the coronavirus outbreak.
Sir Paul, a long-time animal rights activist, said: “I really hope that this will mean that the Chinese government will say, ‘OK, guys, we have really got to get super hygienic around here.’
“Let’s face it, it is a little bit medieval eating bats.”
Stern said it was “mind-boggling” the Chinese government has not shut down the markets.
Sir Paul replied: “It wouldn’t be so bad if this is the only thing it seems like you can blame on those wet markets.
“It seems like Sars, avian flu, all sorts of other stuff that has afflicted us, and what’s it for? For these quite medieval practices. They need to clean up their act. This may lead to it. If this doesn’t, I don’t know what will.”
Sir Paul also discussed the idea of celebrities campaigning for wet markets to be closed.
He said: “I think it makes a lot of sense … when you’ve got the obscenity of some of the stuff that’s going on there and what comes out of it, they might as well be letting off atomic bombs. It’s affecting the whole world.
“I understand that part of it is going to be: people have done it for ever, this is the way we do things. But they did slavery forever, too. You’ve got to change things at some point.”
Sir Paul had been set to headline Glastonbury in June, before the festival was cancelled due to the outbreak.
The veteran musician said the cancellation was “sad”.
He said: “What’s disappointing for me is the people who bought tickets, who were looking forward to this and thinking here’s something groovy to do in the summer, and suddenly the plug is pulled, and we can’t come around and play for them. It’s sad for us, too – we were looking forward to that.”