New York legislators have filed two companion bills, A.10399 and S.8291, to shut down live animal markets. These are the markets where people bring live animals and the consumers pick out an animal that is then butchered on-site and the meat immediately provided to the consumer.
The bill takes a damaging and counterproductive approach to addressing the concerns about these markets. It shuts down all the markets immediately and then establishes a task force to look into health and animal welfare issues. This will harm numerous small businesses and individuals that provide food for New Yorkers. Live animal markets are a food source for the communities they serve, and are particularly important now, when the conventional meat system is in crisis because of the unsafe practices of the large meatpackers.
In the place of licensed markets, the bill will create unsafe black markets. When you outlaw an activity, the predictable result is that the activity will continue, but now with no regulatory oversight at all and often by those who care least about health and safety.
In addition, the task force created by the bill provides no representation for the people who sell animals at live markets, nor for those who want to buy them. Many of these live animal markets are connected with ethnic communities, and there is no representation for those communities either. (Read the bill here).
The exclusion of these stakeholders is not an innocent oversight. The press release about the bill includes quotes from more than a dozen animal-rights and anti-meat organizations. Their intention is presumably to never re-open these markets once they are closed.
Contact your State Assembly Member and Senator and urge them to oppose A.10399 and S.8291.
Find your Assembly Member at https://www.nyassembly.gov/mem/
Find your Senator at https://www.nysenate.gov/senators-committees
Below is a sample message that you can use for email or calls. Especially if you send an email, it’s important to personalize the message – add a few sentences at the beginning about who you are/ why you care about this issue.
“My name is ____, and I live in [town]. I urge Assembly Member_____ (or Senator _____) to oppose A. 10399 (or S.8291).
Animal rights organizations that are opposed to eating meat under any circumstances are using the COVID pandemic as an excuse to shut down a source of meat for communities across our state. While there are concerns about zoonotic diseases, even the World Health Organization has not recommended a ban on live markets, but rather responsible regulation and oversight. The biggest risks come from the inclusion of wildlife in the markets and the specific manner in which they are operated, not the basic concept.
Instead of addressing the problems, the bill simply shuts down the live markets, destroying small businesses and depriving the communities they serve of a food source. The task force that is established leaves out both the buyers and sellers at these markets – excluding the people most directly impacted by the task force’s work. This unrepresentative approach highlights the real agenda – to never re-open these markets.
Many live markets are operated in a responsible manner. Those that aren’t can largely be addressed by consistent enforcement of current regulations. The remainder can and should be addressed by carefully tailored new regulations, developed after looking at the problems and working with all the stakeholders.
I urge Assembly Member ____ (or Senator _____) to oppose A. 10399 (or S.8291).
Read the bill at https://www.nyassembly.gov/leg/?bn=A10399&term=2019
Read the existing NY code at https://codes.findlaw.com/ny/agriculture-and-markets-law/#!tid=N32B6C014EC674DC19974664C44E7B6AB (Article 5-A is where the new bill language would be inserted)