New York City has been urged to shut its wet markets in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The leading theory is that the coronavirus originated from a wet market in Wuhan, China towards the end of 2019. Since then, it has spread globally, killing around 150,000 people at the time of writing.
This has led to multiple people and organizations calling for a ban on wet markets – which are present in countries around the world. Now NYC is facing demands to shut down its markets.
View this post on Instagram
? ? Scientists have estimated up to 75% of infectious diseases have originated in animals, including recent outbreaks of Ebola, MERS and SARS.?? ?? In NYC – the global epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic – there are roughly 80 licensed live animal markets, according to the NY State Dept. of Agriculture and Markets which regulates the facilities.?? ?? Many of these markets operate in close proximity to schools, homes, and parks.?? ?? A bipartisan group of Congressional leaders, including NJ Senator @corybooker, have written the @who to “take aggressive action toward a global shutdown of live wildlife markets,” calling them a “threat to global public health.”?? ?? @physicianscommittee also urged the @u.s.surgeongeneral to request the closure of live animal markets.?? ?? “The whole industry needs to be re-evaluated,” said @lindabrosenthal_67. “I don’t think it’s the proper place in a densely populated city like NY to have these slaughterhouses.”?? ?? Several live animal markets in NYC have repeatedly received citations for deficiencies, including storing equipment in a manner that inhibits proper cleaning, allowing the buildup of dried meat on meat grinders, storing perishable items at the wrong temperature, allowing grime to accumulate on food contact surfaces, and lacking a knife sterilization system. They’re still allowed to operate despite a law banning new slaughterhouses from opening within 1,500 feet of a residence.?? ?? “If for public health reasons, we can’t provide new licenses, why are any of them allowed to operate in this densely populated city?” @jillcarnegie said. “We have seen so many outbreaks before that have jumped to humans from animals. There is an equal risk in keeping domestic animals in a situation where the public can interact with them with no protective gear. Wet markets in NYC are clear disease vectors.”?? ?? Full article by @danielleleighnews (of @abcnews) in bio.
According to reports, there are some 80 licensed live animal markets in the city, with advocacy organization Slaughter Free NYC claiming they ‘operate in close proximity to schools, homes, and parks’.
The group, which has protested against the markets, said: “Several live animal markets in NYC have repeatedly received citations for deficiencies, including storing equipment in a manner that inhibits proper cleaning, allowing the buildup of dried meat on meat grinders, storing perishable items at the wrong temperature, allowing grime to accumulate on food contact surfaces, and lacking a knife sterilization system.
“They’re still allowed to operate despite a law banning new slaughterhouses from opening within 1,500 feet of a residence.??”
Doctors against wet markets
Earlier this month, the Physician’s Committee, whose president is Dr. Neal Barnard, and which boasts 12,000 members in the medical profession, called on officials to ‘prevent the introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases’ by shutting wet markets in the US, which it branded ‘a welcome mat to coronaviruses’.
“Live animal markets are a welcome mat to coronaviruses. The failure to close a single live animal market in China led to a pandemic that has closed countless businesses worldwide and led to an enormous death toll and economic havoc,” the doctors said in a Petition for Rulemaking.
The Petition for Rulemaking further stated: “There must not be another pandemic.
“To ‘prevent the introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases’ in the United States, the Surgeon General must promulgate regulations that prohibit the sale, transfer, donation, other commercial or public offering, or transportation, in interstate or intrastate commerce, of live birds, mammals, reptiles, and amphibians to retail facilities that hold live animals intended for human consumption.”
‘Beginning of time’
But a live market owner told abc7ny that he does not think the markets should be shut down.
Imran Uddin said: “This practice has been done since the beginning of time. There are certain precautions you have to take and the same thing applies to live poultry markets. So education to owners and the public is vital.
“It’s a big part of New York City culture, especially when you are dealing with different ethnic diversity,” he said.