On Monday, May 4, New York lawmakers introduced a new bill to shut down live animal ‘wet’ markets throughout the state. These types of markets can easily facilitate the spread of deadly zoonotic disease, and banning them is essential to preventing future pandemics, according to experts.
Assemblymember Linda B. Rosenthal (D/WF – Manhattan) and S. Sen. Luis Sepúlveda (D/Bronx) sponsored the legislation, which is a response to the speculation that the coronavirus pandemic originally spread from wildlife held at a live animal market in Wuhan, China.
“In a matter of weeks, COVID-19 has ravaged New York and changed life for millions of New Yorkers,” Rosenthal said in a press release. “As policymakers, we have a responsibility to respond to this crisis by doing everything in our power to prevent the next pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption and despair across the globe, and we remain vulnerable to future crises if we do not take action to tackle the root causes.”
“Although COVID-19 originated in China, it could have come from anywhere. Our focus should be addressing the root of the problem. It is not the ‘where,’ but is the ‘what,’” said Judie Mancuso, founder and president of Social Compassion in Legislation, who is spearheading the advocacy efforts in New York and California. “This virus could have originated in any country that exploits and commodifies animals including right here in the USA. Humanity as a whole owns this virus as we continually exploit animals and allow the threat to continue.”
There are currently over 80 live animal markets in New York City alone, which is especially dangerous considering the city’s dense population of over 8 million residents. Many of these markets pop up next to homes, schools and public spaces, making it almost impossible for people to avoid coming dangerously close to animals who may be carrying infectious diseases.
Lady Freethinker applauds the proposed legislation, for the sake of animal welfare and human health.
A full ban on New York ‘wet’ markets is within our reach, but we need to keep up the pressure. To all those who have already made your voices heard, thank you. To those who haven’t yet, sign our petition urging New York State lawmakers to immediately impose a statewide ban on these hazardous markets.