Coronavirus: Paul McCartney slams 'obscene, medieval' Chinese wet markets

Sir Paul McCartney has spoken out against China's infamous wet markets, comparing the country's practice of selling freshly slaughtered animals to "letting off atomic bombs". 

Speaking to Howard Stern on Sirius XM, the Beatles star called for the Chinese government to change the rules and get "super hygienic". 

The wet markets, named for their frequently hosed-down floors, sell fresh meat and sometimes live animals. While the origin of COVID-19 has not yet been confirmed, there's widespread speculation it came from a bat or pangolin in a Wuhan wet market. 

McCartney called the eating of bats "medieval", adding that while he understood the markets had been happening "forever", things had to change. 

"They did slavery forever too," he said. 

The animal rights activist blamed other infectious diseases on the wet markets, including SARS and avian flu. 

"And what's it for? For these quite medieval practices. They need to clean up their act. This may lead to [change]. If this doesn't, I don’t know what will."

McCartney told Stern that petitions to ban the markets altogether "made a lot of sense" to him. 

"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." 

Still, McCartney said it was inspiring to see how people have "pulled together" in the face of a global crisis, having initially feared people would "go crazy and go looting". 

"I hope everyone is staying safe and keeping some optimism but the clouds will roll away."