PETA have been slammed on social media for a 'shameful' tweet that implies that eating meat could cause the coronavirus.
The animal rights organisation wrote on Twitter last week: "Carnivorous is an anagram of coronavirus. Coincidence? We think NOT!"
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Thousands of angry commenters replied to the tweet and accused PETA of spreading panic and misinformation.
In the graphic of the tweet, PETA wrote that: "Scientists have a hunch that contact with live animals or their dead flesh may be the source of the deadly virus."
As evidence, PETA's website also cites a New York Times report which alleges that the virus spread from a wholesale market in Wuhan, where "vendors legally sold live animals from stalls in close quarters with hundreds of others."
But the organisation appeared to confuse 'live animals' with eating cooked meat, which organisations say remains safe.
Even supporters of PETA were quick to remind the organisation that there was no truth to their claim.
One wrote: "I support you PETA but this is totally inaccurate and stupid."
Another said: "As a vegan, I do not approve of this absolutely idiotic message."
There is no proof for the claim made by PETA, which has not been suggested or investigated by scientists.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the WHO recommend cooking meat and eggs thoroughly, but don't say that eating meat in the US carries a risk of getting coronavirus.
But PETA's tweet is not the first time that a link has been made between meat and the coronavirus, which has infected over 80,000 people globally with 2,700 deaths.
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The Chinese food market at the centre of the coronavirus was selling live koalas, crocodiles, peacocks, snakes, rats and wolf pups to be eaten.
The SARS outbreak in 2003 also started in "wet markets", where outdoor stalls sell raw meat within spitting distance of live, caged animals, often kept in inhumane conditions.
Chinese officials have now banned meat trade in wet markets like Huanan, which was shut down on January 1.
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