WASHINGTON: Two Republican lawmakers have urged US President Donald Trump to call his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to immediately close wet markets in China.
In a letter to Trump, Congressman Alcee Hastings and Vern Buchanan expressed grave concerns with China's lax regulation of live animal markets that have been directly connected to the spread of the deadly COVID-19 and other zoonotic diseases.
According to the two lawmakers, expanded oversight on public health grounds was urgently needed to prevent future deadly outbreaks of disease.
In their letter, they pointed out that scientists researching the virus suspect that it moved from animals to humans via contact with, or the consumption of, animals from the identified live animal market.
"It has become clear that the loosely regulated and often inhumane conditions in which animals are slaughtered for human consumption in live animal markets can create ideal conditions for the spread of zoonotic diseases, such as COVID-19," Hastings said.
The lawmaker stressed on the need to sound the alarm now on the urgent need for expanded regulation, elevated enforcement, or closure of these markets.
According to Buchanan, live animal markets had been an incubator of deadly infections like COVID-19.
"These markets are unsanitary and inhumane and have led to the deaths of countless animals and human," Buchanan said.
"They should be shut down immediately to prevent the next outbreak of a deadly virus."
In an accompanying statement, Lisa Vanderpump, founder of The Vanderpump Dog Foundation, said there was a need to address the root of where this devastating pandemic began.
"Any lack of action with regards to addressing the source of this pandemic will present a danger for our future, and the threat that similar diseases will not only reoccur but expand," she said.