Animal Equality introduces initiative in Mexico to ban the sale of live animals at markets
In an effort to eliminate an immediate threat to public health in Mexico, Animal Equality, working with Mexican Senator Jesusa Rodriguez, has submitted a legislative initiative in the country that seeks to ban illegal slaughterhouses and live animal markets and prohibit the sale of live animals at these facilities.
The initiative, proposed yesterday to the Mexican Senate, looks to punish those who operate underground slaughterhouses and live animal markets, facilities where animals are brutally killed and violate the country’s official slaughterhouse rules for humane slaughter. These operations are notorious for disregarding sanitation protocols that ensure food safety and represent an epidemiological risk for disease spread, in addition to the extreme abuse of animals that happens within them. The initiative also asks for the following:
- The General Health Law should be reformed to consider the killing of animals in public streets as a specific crime.
- The Federal Criminal Code should be reformed so that whoever trades in animal products that fail to comply with animal health and hygiene regulations risks human health and safety and should be punished.
- Anyone who operates an underground slaughterhouse should be convicted of a crime and sentenced to imprisonment.
This initiative comes after live animal markets, such as the one in Wuhan, China, where scientists believe COVID-19 may have begun, are under pressure to close because of the danger they pose to global health. Underground and live markets like those in Mexico and elsewhere should set off global alarm bells. These places have been shown to be the perfect breeding ground for outbreaks of zoonotic diseases such as the one currently plaguing the world.
The coronavirus pandemic has put a spotlight on the various ways animals are traded and consumed, methods which have triggered a series of disease outbreaks like SARS and MERS. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that 3 out of every 4 new or emerging infectious diseases in humans come from animals. The health risk from animal consumption does not only originate from consuming exotic animals in faraway countries; based on animal agriculture practices, outbreaks can happen anywhere. Look no further than the Swine Flu pandemic which started in Mexico in 2009, or most recently, a highly pathogenic new bird flu in South Carolina.
Animal Equality Mexico revealed unpublished images from its undercover investigations into the country’s array of slaughterhouses and markets where animals are killed for consumption. These investigations revealed how these sites operate, exposing a complete lack of safety and hygiene measures. The footage also shows that without inspection and oversight, animals are killed in homes, yards, and warehouses with extreme cruelty.
“In response to the global health crisis the world is experiencing, we cannot remain indifferent to the reality of what may have is caused it. Live animal markets and underground slaughterhouses are where the worst acts of violence against animals are committed. With their role in animal-borne disease spread, these facilities present a clear a present danger to the health of all people.” Dulce Ramírez, Executive Director of Animal Equality Mexico.
The proposal will soon be voted on by the Mexican Senate. We will continue to pressure local lawmakers to enact this historic initiative. In the meantime, this legislative action adds to actions taken by Animal Equality to secure more protections for animals and human health, working in tandem with its global campaign to close down wet markets. Launched in early April, the campaign has so far generated over 450K signatures calling for a worldwide ban on these dangerous and inhumane markets.