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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.


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Historic Legislation Prioritizes the Interests of Animals Over Religious Freedom

October 26, 2018 by Leave a Comment


The News

Esther Ouwehand, a Member of Parliament (MP) in the Netherlands, is championing a bill to ban the slaughter of animals who aren’t first rendered unconscious (stunned). In an interview with TheirTurn, MP Ouwehand says that “all forms of animal slaughter are cruel, but killing animals while they’re fully conscious inflicts an additional level of stress and pain.”

Slaughtering animals before stunning them is already illegal in The Netherlands, but an exception is made for halal and kosher slaughterhouses that kill animals while they’re fully conscious.  The legislation being championed by MP Ouwehand and her colleagues in the Animal Rights Party would eliminate that exemption.

According to MP Ouwehand, “When the legislation passes, it will be the first time that a country places the interests of animals over religious freedom.”


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Activists Rescue Chicken From Slaughterhouse in Memory of Jill Phipps

February 12, 2018 by Leave a Comment


The News

Jill Phipps, the British animal rights activist who was killed while blocking a trailer transporting veal calves, was remembered by animal rights activists around the world who held protests at slaughterhouses in her memory.

In New York City, activists marched through Astoria, Queens, to a slaughterhouse and staged a silent vigil at the entrance. Inside, hundreds of chickens stacked in crates were being killed, butchered and sold. With the help of a few determined activists, one chicken made it out alive and is living in peace at a sanctuary for rescued farm animals. The activists named her Jill.

Animal rights activists rescued a chicken from a slaughterhouse during a protest staged in memory of British animal rights campaigner, Jill Phipps

The life and advocacy of Jill Phipps, who died fighting for animal liberation when she was just 31 years old, is documented in the 40 minute film, Death of an Animal Activist:


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Jenny’s Aha Moment

June 29, 2016 by Leave a Comment


The News

While eating in a restaurant in Brooklyn, Jenny Amlen saw skinned lambs being unloaded from a nearby truck. At that moment, she made the connection between the burger on her plate and the animal who was killed for it.

“I saw almost 100 slaughtered lambs being thrown into a shopping cart in broad daylight. I saw their eyes, and it was devastating, shocking and heartbreaking. I thought then that they were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers just like us,” said Jenny Amlen. “Honestly, it reminded me of the Holocaust. It was just lambs instead of humans.”

Jenny sent the video footage to TheirTurn and said that the incident prompted her to go vegan.

Jenny Amlen saw skinned lambs being unloaded from a truck and decided to go vegan.

Jenny Amlen saw skinned lambs being unloaded from a truck and decided to go vegan.

Your Turn

To order a free vegan starter kit please visit PETA


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