Los Angeles is getting closer to banning the sale of live animals at food markets, as the City Council voted Wednesday to have a report compiled on the feasibility of prohibiting such sales for human consumption.
Introduced by City Councilman Paul Koretz, the motion cites the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which has been widely deemed by researchers to have jumped from animals, possibly a pangolin, to humans at a “wet” market in China, where live animals are sold to people alongside butchered meat.
“Zoonotic viruses, animal viruses capable of being transmitted to humans, have also been found in birds, turtles, frogs, pigs, cattle and others,” the motion by Koretz stated. “The frequency of significant human-acquired zoonoses in the last century has escalated due to deforestation, wildlife trafficking, industrial animal agriculture and human establishments encroaching on wildlife habitat.”
The council directed the Department of City Planning, Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and the City Attorney’s Office, with the assistance of the County Department of Public Health, to report in 30 days on the feasibility of implementing an ordinance to prohibit the sale of living animals for human consumption.
The report is to include a definition of a wet market and recommendations on the establishments and practices that should be prohibited, a report on existing zoning, conditional use or health code laws that regulate the on-site slaughter of live animals and any establishments that are currently permitted to do so.
“In the context of the coronavirus pandemic, prudent public health policy, humane treatment of animals and protection of ecosystems suggest that the sale of living animals for human consumption should be prohibited in any setting in Los Angeles,” Koretz stated in his motion.