As the novel coronavirus — which originated in a market in China where live and dead animals are sold for human consumption — devastates New York City, Honorary PETA Director Edie Falco has sent a letter and video today urging Mayor Bill de Blasio to shut down the more than 80 live-animal markets still operating in the city.

The new video of live-animal markets in New York City shows terrified animals confined to cages smeared with feces and corpses, body parts, and blood contaminating public sidewalks. Virologists agree that markets where sick and stressed animals are caged in their own waste are breeding grounds for deadly influenza viruses and other diseases that cross the species barrier—and that only luck has prevented previous pandemics. PETA has launched an international petition urging the World Health Organization to call for the permanent closure of live-animal markets worldwide.

“You are uniquely positioned to help stop future pandemics and set an example for other leaders by closing the city’s live-animal markets immediately,” writes Falco. “That step could be pivotal in stopping other deadly viruses from ever jumping to humans.”

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