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The Beatles star and animal rights activist, 77, called for the end of food markets selling live animals, while discussing reports that the COVID-19 outbreak may have originated from a food market in Wuhan, China.
Discussing the pandemic with US radio DJ Howard Stern on Sirius XM, McCartney said: "They might as well be letting off atomic bombs because it’s affecting the whole world.
"Whoever is responsible for this is at war with the world and itself.”
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He went on: "Let’s face it, it is a little bit medieval eating bats. They don’t need all the people dying. And what’s it for? All these medieval practices. They just need to clean up their act. This may lead to it. If this doesn’t, I don’t know what will."
When it was suggested that banning the markets would be difficult think to do, McCartney compared them to slavery.
He said: "They did slavery forever too, but you have to change things at some point."
“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 [change]. If this doesn't, I don’t know what will.”
While some wet markets in China sell live animals including porcupines and deer, the term simply refers to markets selling fresh produce – including fruit, vegetables, meat and fish – as supposed to non-perishable goods. They are called wet as the floors are often hosed down to clean the produce.
“We’re all going through this together … the clouds will roll away,” @PaulMcCartney said of staying positive during the #coronavirus pandemic.
Click the link to hear his full interview with @HowardStern on the @SIRIUSXM app, FREE through May 15: https://t.co/8WBeHOG17V pic.twitter.com/t1QXZS1ebM
— Stern Show (@sternshow) April 14, 2020
McCartney revealed he is currently self isolating in his Sussex home, while wife Nancy Shevell is in New York - as she was there when lockdown came into force.
McCartney was previously married to Linda McCartney, who died after battling cancer in 1998. Together they campaigned for animal rights and to promote vegetarianism.
The couple decided to stop eating meat in 1975 after Paul saw lambs in a field as they were eating a meal of lamb.
He married New York businesswoman Shevell, 60, in 2011.