A Thai video blogger identified as Phonchanok Srisunaklua has been arrested after filming herself eating a bowl of bat soup, sparking outrage amid concerns about the risk of new pandemic viruses jumping to humans.
Phonchanok Srisunaklua had uploaded the 1 minute 40 second clip to her Gin Zap Bep Nua Nua (Eat spicy and delicious) YouTube channel where the dead animals are seen floating in a mud-coloured soup with cherry tomatoes.
Describing the bats as being ‘delicious’ and comparing them to ‘eating raw meat’ she is then seen ripping the animals apart and dipping them in a spicy sauce called Nim Jam.
At one point she holds an entire bat up to the camera, pointing to the creature’s teeth.
Moments later you hear the crunch as she nibbles on its “soft bones”.
Phonchanok, who has apologised for the culinary stunt and said she will not eat the mammals again, has been arrested for violating the Wildlife Conservation and Protection Act.
She faces up to five years in prison, or a 500,000 baht (almost £12,000) fine.
Social media reactions
The video was quickly flooded with complaints by outraged viewers alarmed at the health implications.
One said: ‘If you’re going to die, die alone. No one will blame you. But you’ll be damned if you start a pandemic.’
Another said: ‘You put yourself at risk. If you get sick don’t bother burdening doctors and nurses.’
Veterinarian Pattaraphon Manee-on reacts to the video
Veterinarian Pattaraphon Manee-on, head of the wildlife health management group at the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation, said: “I was shocked to see it in the clip now.
“Because the incident should not happen both in Thailand and around the world, it is very risky behaviour, especially as bats have a lot of pathogens.
“There is no proof that the hot water temperature will actually kill the germs. Just touching the saliva, blood, and the skin is considered a risk.
“Besides the concern about the disease in bats, this woman could be guilty of breaking the Preservation and Protection and Wildlife Act, B.E. 2019, because bats are protected animals.”