Majlis Ash-Shura & NY Muslim Community Oppose Bill A. 10399 to Ban Butcher Shops in New York City

In light of the recent Bill A.10399/S.08291 introduced by Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal (D-Manhattan) and State Senator Luis Sepúlveda (D-Bronx) to effectively ban all markets that sell freshly slaughtered livestock in New York City, Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York and signatories strongly oppose this bill as an extreme measure proposed for regulating the sale of meat as it contains consequences for religious communities and the poor. 

According to unsubstantiated claims of the proposed bill, these markets supposedly pose a similar threat to the wet markets of Wuhan China, that slaughter exotic and wild animals, not typically consumed by people, in an open setting on streets with high risks of cross- contamination.

These analogies are misleading as the zoonotic Coronavirus that exists in exotic animals cannot be compared to domesticated animals that are routinely treated with antibiotics, and tested in compliance with USDA standards several times at different stages before being sold. New York butcher shops do not operate in open streets, but rather operate in closed and sanitized facilities subject to random inspections and swab tests by the city, state, and federal authorities. Shops that accrue at least three violation points face the risk of being shut down, thus leading to more pressure to maintain sanitation and hygiene. 

Furthermore, these markets provide alternatives for customers who want access to meat without preservatives and added hormones, and for those who want to witness more humane slaughtering practices in accordance with religious sacrificial law, unlike meat produced in mass factories with much more horrid conditions. These shops have been in operation for several decades and are vital to the diverse religious and ethnic fabric of New York.  For Muslim and Orthodox Jewish communities, these shops are vital for important religious traditions as they allow for the distribution of free meat to the poor during religious holidays. Performing religious rites and observing the sacrifice of animals in accordance with religious law remains obligatory for these groups and cannot be replaced with store packaged meat.

Poultry shops are pillars of the community as they provide fresh and healthier meat alternatives to communities, and provide supplies in times of dire need. Contrary to the claims made by the proposed bill, many livestock processing plants are currently shutting down due to the spread of the Coronavirus and contain hazardous conditions, thus creating shortages of meat in supermarkets. Small poultry shops have been vital in maintaining a consistent source of meat for local communities.

Closing down poultry shops will not only affect religious communities, but it will also restrict choices for local communities, upset the local economy, and possibly lead to more unsafe and unregulated practices of private slaughters of livestock to fulfill religious mandates. The closure of poultry shops will negatively affect small business owners, employees, hatcheries, and local farmers and only exacerbate the cruelties of mass farming and processed meat manufactured by large corporations. 

Majlis Ash-Shura: Islamic Leadership Council of New York, an umbrella organization for over 90 mosques and Muslim-led organizations, and the New York Muslim community are urging the New York State Assembly to not pass Bill A.10399/S.08291 as the facts are being grossly misrepresented. We believe that there are alternatives that could be proposed for better and safer handling of fresh meat to protect our communities without closing down live butcher shops. 

Signed by,

Al-Janed Islamic Center

Andalusia Islamic Center

Assafa Islamic Center INC

Arab American Federation

Ar-Rahman Foundation Inc

Baitul Islam Masjid & Community Center Inc.

Baitul Mamur Masjid & Comm Center Inc.

Brooklyn Broadway Jame Masjid & Islamic Center

Brooklyn Islamic Center

Canarsie Islamic Services

Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York (CAIR-NY)

Darul Jannah Masjid & Islamic Center

Futa Islamic Center, Inc.

Harlem Islamic Cultural Center

Hillside Islamic Center

Hudson Valley Islamic Community Center

Ibn Sina Center

The Islamic Civic Association of Staten Island

Islamic Center Of New Rochelle

Islamic Center of Five Town

Islamic Center of L.I.

Islamic Center of Mid Westchester

Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) – New York

Islamic Foundation Of New York

Islamic Mission of America -Dawoud

Islamic Society of Bay Ridge

Islamic Unity and Culture Center of Plav-Gusinje

Jamaat Islamic Center

Long Island Muslim Society

MAS Community Center, MAS

MAS Sheepshead Bay Center

MAS Upper NY Bronx Muslim Center

MAS Youth Center

Madina Masjid Islamic Council of America

Markaz Saqafi

Masjid Ahlu Sunna Walkhurabba’a

Masjid Al Ansar

Masjid Al Arqam

Masjid Al Ihsan

Masjid Al Rahman

Masjid Al Tawheed

Masjid Al-Hamdu-Lilla

Masjid Alaqsa

Masjid Alfarouqe

Masjid Allah Akbar

Masjid As-Siddiq

Masjid At-Taqwa

Masjid Darul Da’wah

Masjid Darul Quran

Masjid Ebun Abass

Masjid Hamza

Masjid Hefaz

Masjid Highbridge Islamic Center

Masjid Ibaadu Rahmaan

Masjid Iqamatiddeen

Masjid Kawthar

Masjid Makkie

Masjid Manhattan

Masjid Nassr

Masjid Noor

Masjid Omar Ben-Abdel Aziz

Masjid Rahma

Masjid Rahman

Masjid Rahmatillah

Masjid Sabur

Masjid Taha

Masjid Tajul Huda

Masjid Tawba

Masjid Tawhid

Masjid Wahab

Masjid Yusuf Shah

Mid Hudson Islamic Association

Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc.

Musa Mosque Islamic Center – Bronx

Muslim American Society (MAS) – New York

Muslim Center of New York

Muslim Community Center

Muslim Foundation of America

Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA)

Nurudeen Islamic Charity Org.

Parkchester Islamic Center

Paterson Mevlana Mosque

Tauhid Center for Islamic Development

United Ulama Council Of USA INC

Westchester Muslim Center

White Plains Islamic Center

Within our Lifetime – United for Palestine Page

Women In Islam, Inc.

Woodhaven Jame Masjid

Yemeni American Association of New York