Mohammed Mujumder, President of Bangladeshi American Community Council in the New York city, has strongly condemned the proposed bill forwarded by New York State Assembly woman, Linda Rosenthal, and State Senator Luis Sepulveda.
While reacting to the proposed bill on his Facebook page on Wednesday May 13, 2020, Mujumder noted that the bill, which aimed at curtailing the spread of Covid-19 in the city, was not the solution to the pandemic.
He stressed that it is condemnable to conclude that COVID-19, like other zoonotic diseases before it, such as SARS and H1N1, had its origins in live animal markets.
“I am writing to oppose the proposed NYS Senate Bill A. 10399 brought forward by New York State Assembly woman Linda Rosenthal and State Senator Luis Sepulveda,” Mujumder wrote.
“The objective of the proposed legislation is to prevent future pandemics. While, there is consensus that COVID-19, like other zoonotic diseases before it, such as SARS and H1N1, had its origins in live animal markets; it is important to note that the said diseases originated in China.
“There is no evidence that any of these diseases originated in New York state or even the United States for that matter,” he added.
Mujumder further noted that Covid-19 didn’t originate from live poultry as erroneous argued by the legislators. He added that the pandemic could be traced to animals such as dogs, bats, cats among others.
“It is important to note that zoonotic diseases such as COVID-19, SARS and H1N1 did not originate from live poultry. These diseases originated from other unusual animals such as bats, dogs, cats, …, which most Americans do not consume and/or sell for consumption,” he continued.
While condemning the step taken by the two legislators, Mujumder stated that people of other faiths, especially the Muslims who patronize the market should be considered in any legislation put forward to the senate.
“Passing the proposed legislation would personally affect me and my community. Many faith-based communities, including, but not limited to the Muslim community would face extreme hardship in practicing their faith.
“A large percentage of this community rely on such live animal markets to purchase meat slaughtered following religious standards for Halal meat,” he stated.
He, however, suggested that a better solution be deliberated rather than introducing a legislation that will further make life difficult for the people.
“Although I agree that our priority is to respond to the current pandemic and our leaders should do everything possible to prevent the next pandemic; shutting and/or banning all New York’s live animal markets is not the solution.
“Rather, steps to enforce existing public health laws and/or create new laws to ensure good sanitation and health safety must be taken.
“Lastly, the owners of these businesses and the farmers who supply these animals would suffer drastic financial loss.
“Shutting down living animal markets would result in hundreds and thousands of individuals to lose their jobs and businesses. It will hurts business and feeling of many Muslims, African Americans and Hispanic community in our great NYC and State.
“While the intentions of this legislation may be good, it has unfortunately not been thought out well. It is simply a kneejerk reaction to a pandemic that has changed all our lives. It is not a solution. Thus, based on the foregoing, I respectfully request that the proposed NYS Senate Bill A. 10399 to not be passed,” he concluded.