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For the sake of Corona, shut down illegal meat and pet markets: Health Minister urged

For the sake of Corona, shut down illegal meat and pet markets: Health Minister urgedFor representational purpose
Highlights

In a joint letter to the Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, five national animal protection organizations have appealed for the...

New Delhi: In a joint letter to the Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr Harsh Vardhan, five national animal protection organizations have appealed for the closure of illegal meat markets, unlicensed wildlife and pet markets with immediate effect and the regulation of the animal production industry. The letter from People for Animals (PFA), Humane Society International/India (HSI/India), Mercy for Animals India Foundation (MFA), Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organizations (FIAPO) and Ahimsa Trust describes the cramped and unhygienic conditions in which animals are raised and slaughtered/sold for food and as pets respectively. They have urged the Government to undertake immediate action on the markets which do not follow food safety guidelines (FSSAI guidelines) in order to prevent the emergence of novel diseases and spread of the current corona crisis.

The outbreak of Covid-19 is said to have emerged from a meat and wildlife market in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. In just a few months the virus has infected hundreds of thousands and killed over 14000 people world over. Citing the research linking the industrial production systems for eggs & meat, the conditions in live animal markets, and the fact that India presently confines billions of animals in such conditions every year, the letter sought the Health Ministry's immediate intervention.

Gauri Maulekhi, Trustee, People for Animals, said "Increase in industrial slaughter and factory farming of animals, the unchecked trade in wildlife and crowding of various species of animals in close confinement has been an invitation to deadly epidemics. The connection is unmistakable. Let's learn from our mistakes. We are hopeful that the Ministry of Health undertakes the suggested measures to rectify this crisis and safeguard this country's health."

This letter follows an appeal to the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying last week to follow OIE guidelines after it was found that poultry farmers

Some highlights from the letter:

** Three out of four emerging pathogens affecting humans over the past decade have originated from animals or animal products as per a 20007 FAO report

** The Centre for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), nutritional scientists, and medical professionals warn against the health risks of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)

** The impending risk of deadly epidemics and drug-resistant diseases from intensive animal production facilities and animal/meat markets can no longer be ignored.

** A study carried out in Nepal surveyed the raw meat markets and found that raw meat in less developed countries is easily contaminated from external sources such as handling and processing of the meat with knives, hands, and other tools

** The absence of regulations relating to Livestock Production lead to intensive, crowded rearing, unnatural diets, antibiotic abuse and various other practices that have lead us into the COVID-19 crisis.

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