NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Some scientists believe the coronavirus may have first jumped from animals to humans in a Wuhan wet market, where live animals are sold and sometimes slaughtered.

There are many wet markets right here in New York City, and there is now a push to shut them down.

In the middle of Ozone Park, Queens, off Woodhaven Boulevard, you’ll find Madani Halal Poultry.

“Walk in off the street, choose your animal and then from there, we slaughter it,” owner Imram Uddin said, “and we slaughter it in accordance to Islamic law, which is called halal.”

Uddin’s family has been running the slaughterhouse for decades. It’s one of more than 70 legal live animal markets in New York City.

“The majority of our clientele are lower middle income. They can go to the local large supermarket and buy poultry for a fraction of the cost, but they choose to come here because they want the better quality. They want to maintain their traditions,” Uddin told CBS2’s Ali Bauman.

These markets sell poultry, lamb and goat. They do not sell exotic animals like some markets around the world.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence domestic animals can spread COVID-19 to humans, but more than 6 out of every 10 known infectious diseases in people can be spread from animals.

“It’s really not the optimum sanitary conditions in those markets and that is part of what leads to viruses being produced and jumping to humans,” State Legislator Linda Rosenthal said.

Rosenthal has introduced a bill to close all wet markets in New York while a task force studies how they can operate in a more sanitary way.

“The fact that vectors of disease are present in these live markets in New York City means that we’re just waiting for something catastrophic to happen,” Rosenthal said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

Madani Halal Poultry sells more than 100 animals each day, and shipments come in six days a week from farms in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

“The farms that we purchase from, they have certification showing that the animals are disease-free,” Uddin said.

Uddin says shutting these markets down would be devastating to New Yorkers buying kosher or halal meat.

“They’re all located in ethnic communities and to take that away from them is a shame,” he said.

The state department of agriculture inspects these markets seven times per year and says they’re re-inspected if not up to code.

Comments (6)
  1. Linda Curtis says:

    Yes, please don’t do dumb things like this. We’re talking about ending the practice of wild animals in markets — not domestic animals. And, we need some education about this. This maneuver by Rosenthal appears to be very misguided. Hoping you will do more on this subject and check out seemingly legitimate efforts like: https://extinctionendshere.org/

  2. Keith J. Vogel says:

    Any place with fresh fruits, veggies, meat or live animals is a wet market. Produce Stands, Grocery Stores, rescue puppy adoption events. These are all wet markets. We can’t survive on dry markets alone. Last I heard Televisions are not edible. I can’t feed stock certificates to my pets. Remember everything that can be purchased only comes from one of four markets. Wet Markets, Dry Markets, Stock Markets and Real Markets (real estate). If you can eat it or it is alive it comes from a wet market. If you can’t eat it and it doesn’t have an expiration date then it is a dry market. Asking for closure of wet markets, is asking for the end of food.

  3. Ray Kash says:

    How many cases in NY were attributed to this? We can talk about sanitary conditions and “vectors of disease” but where’s the proof? Why doesn’t Rosenthal provide numbers and call for people in her district to wear masks (instead of being in parks?) This blanket call to ban wet markets is insensitive and inherently racist to ethnic communities. Rosenthal is cloaking this as health and safety.

    1. Sean says:

      Mixing together multiple species in congested environments can and has contributed to zoonotic spillover recently (first SARS, swine flu, etc…). Putting these live animal markets in a congested city of 8 million makes the risk even worse.

      Viruses do not care about anybody’s race or ethnicity – they’re just clumps of complex molecules. Lets not forget ALL humans have to respect nature, “culture” and traditions are meaningless.

      1. cao biz says:

        Thanks Sean. All they think of is preserving the status quo of ignorant belief systems. Yours is the only sensible comment. People can’t see the daily microscopic soup they walk in, having no idea how harmful deadly viruses and microbes are to all living beings. Fairy tale traditions keep the mind dumb to reality. Otherwise, we would never have factory farms, or wet markets. ~~~~~> SeanJuly 1, 2020 at 3:20 pm
        Mixing together multiple species in congested environments can and has contributed to zoonotic spillover recently (first SARS, swine flu, etc…). Putting these live animal markets in a congested city of 8 million makes the risk even worse.

        Viruses do not care about anybody’s race or ethnicity – they’re just clumps of complex molecules. Lets not forget ALL humans have to respect nature, “culture” and traditions are meaningless.

  4. msnikeia says:

    Oh my….this is a mess🤦🏽‍♀️

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