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New York lawmaker pushes to close ‘Chinese-style’ wet markets operating in the Big Apple

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A state official says she’ll be introducing legislation soon to close down scores of Chinese-style “wet markets” currently operating under allegedly unsanitary conditions in New York City.

Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat who represents portions of Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen, said she began crafting her legislation after being alerted to the markets, where live chickens are butchered and served, by an animal rights group called NYCLASS.

Some experts have said it’s possible that the coronavirus pandemic began in a similar-style market in Wuhan city, China, though that has not yet been definitely established.

Nevertheless, as Rosenthal notes, the markets present a public health hazard and should be shuttered.

Video of alleged NYC wet markets below via TMZ (Warning for disturbing content).

“COVID-19 is an unprecedented public health crisis, and it demands, at the very least, that we take a close look at what we can do to prevent the next pandemic. Top among our priorities must be closing New York’s unsanitary live markets, that’s why I will be introducing legislation in the coming days to do just that,” she said in a statement to TMZ.

The entertainment news site added:

Forget the danger wet markets pose in China … there are 80 of these markets in New York City — the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic — and the animal rights group that shot this shocking, undercover video says the images make it clear … they need to be shut down.

NYCLASS Executive Director, Edita Birnkrant, went on “TMZ Live” Monday and said 2 of the markets are in the Bronx and Queens … packed to the gills with caged live fowl … many of which were being mercilessly tossed into a trash can by one of the workers, who was plucking them out for slaughter.

The organization captured video footage of a man harvesting live chickens and preparing them for slaughter.

Rosenthal pointed out that some of the wet markets are being operated in the middle of residential neighborhoods without much oversight or regulation from state or federal officials.

“Given the poor conditions, it’s no wonder that COVID-19 and other deadly zoonotic diseases before it originated in live markets. We have a responsibility to save lives by closing the live markets now,” she added.

TMZ says that the video was taken at two separate wet markets in New York City. One is reportedly called One-Stop “Vivero” Live Poultry Market in the Bronx, while the other is called Flushing Live Poultry, located in Queens. Both of the shops are currently operating, the website reports, “killing and selling the chickens and meat in the same location — with what appears to be little regulation.”

The site notes that the markets do not fall under the regulatory guidance of the New York City Dept. of Health. Rather, wet markets are under the purview of state agriculture officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, neither of which pays much attention to the markets, apparently.

“Their existence poses a public safety risk to the New Yorkers who live and work in these areas. Market floors and even public sidewalks are often covered with blood, feces, and other biohazards that put everyone in danger,” Birnkrant said.

As for the origins of COVID-19, an earlier coronavirus — SARS — was also believed to have originated from a wet market in China, according to peer-reviewed studies published in 2006.

Some, however, believe that the claim coronavirus came from a wet market is just a Chinese Communist government cover story. To that end, the U.S. intelligence community also believes COVID-19 may have originated in a Chinese lab.

Jon Dougherty

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