ALBANY, NY – The New York State Assembly recently passed a bill that extends a ban on issuing licenses to live animal slaughter businesses located within a 1,500-ft. radius of a residence in New York City. The bill would go into force immediately and last for four years.

New York has roughly 80 live poultry markets, which serve immigrants, Muslims and other consumers who prefer live or halal slaughter.

Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola) and Assemblyman Dave Weprin (D-Queens) supported the bill. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) applauded the legislation and urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to sign it into law.

“City-based live slaughter markets are notorious for exposing animals to filthy, cruel and inhumane conditions,” Brian Shapiro, New York state director for The HSUS, said in a statement. “The Humane Society of the United States commends Sen. Martins and Assembly Member Weprin for showing leadership by protecting animal welfare and upholding public health in New York City.”

According to a legislative memo, justification of the bill is grounded in public health concerns. Residents living near live poultry markets complained about odors emanating from the market. “Often, markets failed to properly dispose of animal entrails, which created undesirable conditions in the streets and on the sidewalks of the city,” according to the memo. “Floating feathers clogged sewer drains and air conditioning/heating ducts and presented asthma, allergy and respiratory hazards.”

The memo also noted that lack of monitoring due to inadequate numbers of state and city inspectors to ensure compliance “became especially frightening in light of Mad Cow disease and recent outbreaks of avian influenza…”

Permitting live poultry markets in densely populated urban and residential areas has been found to lower property values of both residences and commercial properties. “Markets that profit in the on-site slaughter of animals have had a significantly negative impact on residential and retail communities and steps must be taken to provide for better planning so that the well-being of residents and the character of the city are preserved,” the memo concluded.