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Inside NYC’s Wet Markets – A “Ticking Time Bomb”

March 30, 2020 by Leave a Comment

The News

New York City has over 80 wet markets – businesses that sell live animals to the public and slaughter them onsite.  New York’s live animal markets are located in all five boroughs.

Since 2016, public health and animal rights advocates have been sounding alarm bells about the City’s wet markets, pleading with health officials and lawmakers to shut them down in order to prevent the transmission and spread of infectious disease. COVID-19 is believed to have been transmitted from animal to human in a wet market in Wuhan, China.

Sheep and chickens are among the approximately 10 different species of live animals sold at NYC’s wet markets

NYC’s wet markets sell approximately ten animal species, including goats, sheep, chickens, guinea hens, rabbits, pigeons, Muscovy ducks, and quail.  The animals are confined in small cages or pens where they can sicken each other and the people who work and shop there. Animal feces, body parts, feathers and blood are tracked in and out by customers and pedestrians who then carry the refuse on to the subways and into their homes, offices and communities.

Wet markets, or live animal markets, are storefront slaughterhouses that sell live animals to public and slaughter them on site

“New York City’s wet markets are a ticking time bomb,” said Jill Carnegie, a co-organizer with Slaughter Free NYC, an organization advocating to shut down wet markets and other slaughterhouses in NYC. “If avian flu or another infectious disease is transmitted to just one human, it could spread very rapidly in New York City and beyond, as we have seen with COVID-19.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the advocates’ sense of urgency. Slaughter Free NYC is now asking Mayor Bill de Blasio, Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot and Deputy Commissioner of Disease Control Dr. Demetre Daskalakis to prohibit the slaughter of live animals in the five boroughs of New York. In February, the organization launched a petition with its demand.

In a letter to NY Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NY State Department of Agriculture & Markets, Bonnie S. Klapper, a New York City-based attorney working on several cases involving animal agriculture, wrote that City and State health authorities are turning a blind eye to the well-documented health code violations

Click letter to view in full

The NYC Department of Health claims that it has no regulatory authority over these markets and defers to NY State Department of Agriculture & Markets, but state health officials have told me that these wet markets are never inspected unless they receive numerous complaints,” Klapper told TheirTurn. “That said, no amount of oversight can prevent disease transmission in storefront slaughterhouses where sick animals are coming into contact with humans.”

PCRM Petition to the Surgeon General to outlaw live markets in the United State

On March 25th, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) sent a letter to the Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) encouraging him to call for the permanent closure of [wet] markets:  “Deadly outbreaks of mad cow disease, avian flu, swine flu, SARS, HIV, hoof-and-mouth disease and others have stemmed from capturing or farming animals for food. Live animal markets are perfect breeding grounds for diseases, which can jump from various others species to humans . . . If we’re to prevent future pandemics, we must heed the warning of top coronavirus researchers like Dr. Danielle Anderson, scientific director of the Duke-NUS Medical School, and cut them off at the source.”

In partnership with The Save Movement, an organization that stages vigils at slaughterhouses around the word, Slaughter Free NYC conducts vigils and educational outreach at New York City’s wet markets.

Comments via Facebook Comments

  1. Coni major says:
    All animals murdered and used for any reason that causes harm or suffering in any way needs to stop! What right does the human animal have to abuse and take the lives of innocent, helpless,defenseless species of animals?! NONE! Humans should have the sense to know better! We do not need animals for food or any other reason! LEAVE THESE INNOCENT LIVES ALONE!. I pray all evil humans involved in any animal abuse or use that causes suffering get stricken with the worst this world has to offer!!

  2. Ginny says:

    The outrage over this unsanitary practice is justified. However, some are just outraged by the slaughter of animals. I wonder what their opinion on abortion, the slaughter of unborn children, is. Js

  3. Pro life says:

    Let’s also close all the Abortion Clinics! At these times we should be saving lives not ending them

  4. Julianna thompson says:

    Yes, horrible, but at least ours don’t have pangolins which are on the brink of extinction, rhino horns, shark fins …

  5. Julianna Thompson says:

    We were horrified when some Arabs bought our sheep at a farmer’s market, where farmer’s generally bought things from each other, different livestock to round out their herds, etc., and they slaughtered it in the parking lot!!!

  6. Rosemary Welch says:

    New York, shame on you and the mayor Shut these wet markets down immediately!!!!

  7. Tama Valie says:

    God please help shut these cruel places down. I could never go to any places like this. Horrible!

  8. Ana says:

    Please stop this! Is barbaric!

  9. Krystyna Ozog says:

    This is unacceotable and wrong! Must stop now!

  10. Joel Stein says:

    Ich stimme voll und ganz zu. Danke für Ihre Antwort.

  11. Joel Stein says:

    Ich stimme von ganzem Herzen zu. Danke für Ihre Antwort.

  12. Heather Alexander says:

    We are no better than the Chinese.

  13. Joel Stein says:

    Now is the time to ban all live markets and to impose strict enforcement. They are a plague on our society.

  14. Patricia Guthrie says:

    Shut these awful markets down now.

  15. Claudia Lange says:

    Wet markets must END. Have we learned nothing from the Chinese experience? If not, we are doomed to repeat this COVID-19 pandemic scenario over and over and over. Please ban wet markets!!

  16. Nele Kempfer says:

    Alle Medien berichten über die Seuche, doch nicht über die Vernichtung der Ursache, der tierquälerische Märkte von Katzen und Hunden und Wildtieren in China. Die Seuche kann erneut erscheinen. Amerika, die EU und Südostasien müssen das verbieten und die Tierquälerei

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