Three years into the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists have not been able to reach a consensus on the pandemic’s origins.
The two most prominent theories posit that the virus may have been an accidental byproduct of lab experiments – which Wuhan’s Institute of Virology has been known to conduct – or that it may have originated from animals. The latest suspect? Racoon dogs!
China is a leading producer of raccoon dog pelts. In 2014, the country produced more than 14 million pelts.
They are also sold for their meat in live animal markets.
Despite their name, raccoon dogs are not close relatives of raccoons. They are members of the canid family, a group that also includes domestic dogs, and are most closely related to foxes.
A WHO mission to China in February 2021 was inconclusive.
Hardly surprising, since Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO’s director-general, is known to be China’s man.