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Cruelty and Dangers of Live-Food Markets

July 27, 2002

Re "Culinary Tradition Poses a Health Risk in Hong Kong," July 21: The Times is reporting a story about the hazards of live-food markets in Hong Kong, while live markets flourish right here in downtown L.A.

For more than five years we have begged everyone from the Health Department and the Department of Fish and Game to the SPCA's Los Angeles chapter and local politicians to close these filthy, cruel markets in L.A. and San Francisco. We have shown gruesome videos and presented scientific evidence about the bacteria inside and outside of the chickens, fish, toads, turtles and rabbits being sold. Yet existing laws are not being enforced that would protect animals from harm and humans from the public health hazards.

Law enforcement and politicians, with the exception of state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), have turned the other way. While in the Assembly, Kuehl introduced AB 2479 to protect the animals from the cruelty they suffer in live markets, including no food, no water, no shade and a horrible slaughter. This law was passed, but not only is it not being enforced, it is being scoffed at.

Take a trip to Chinatown in L.A. Check out the chickens squashed in tiny cages, the frogs in filthy water, the turtles upside down, all awaiting death just so someone can enjoy a tasty bacteria-filled meal.

Susan Tellem

Marshall Thompson

American Tortoise Rescue


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