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Notice of Public Roundtable


Current Issues Facing Live Bird Markets in New York City


To investigate current community, zoning, environmental and public health issues affecting the viability of New York City's live bird markets.

New York State Assembly Hearing Room

Tuesday, November 28th
10:00 AM
250 Broadway, 19th Floor, Room 1923
New York, New York 11901

The Assembly Committee on Agriculture is responsible for monitoring the growth and sustainability of emerging agricultural markets and determining how New York State markets can operate in a manner mutually beneficial to producers, customers and the surrounding community.

The Committee recognizes New York's unique cultural diversity. In New York City, the demand for live poultry has increased as new populations have moved to the State. As a result, the five boroughs of then City now host approximately 100 bird markets - stores where live birds are purchased directly by the consumer and processed on-site according to his or her specifications.

Several federal, state and local agencies oversee the regulation of such businesses. Following high-profile reports of cases in Southeast Asia where high-pathogen avian influenza infected humans, many residents and public officials have started to seek a better understanding of how these agencies work together to monitor live bird markets, since virus origins in many of the Asian cases were traced to similar but less regulated entities. While high-pathogen avian influenza has never been discovered in the United States, concerns remain that a less virulent form of the virus, which has recently been discovered in surrounding states that supply New York markets, has the ability to mutate into a more virulent and deadly strain.

The purpose of this roundtable is to bring representatives from these agencies together to discuss the regulation of live bird markets regarding oversight, operation and siting, difficulties in appropriately regulating such markets and other potential environmental and public health challenges presented by such businesses. This forum seeks to determine whether specific concerns can be addressed in a more comprehensive, uniform fashion in the metropolitan area.

Please see the reverse side for a full list of questions that will be addressed at the roundtable.

Bill Magee

Member of Assembly
Committee on Agriculture

Jose Rivera

Member of Assembly
Task Force on Food, Farm and Nutrition Policy

Current Issues Facing Live Bird Markets in New York City

  1. Co-Location of Federal Custom Exempt Facilities at Live Bird Markets - Most live bird facilities in New York City are licensed and inspected by the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. However, some of these markets slaughter red meat animals as well, the oversight of which falls under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Agriculture. What kinds of food safety inspection problems can this arrangement cause? What actions can state inspectors take if one witnesses an act during red-meat processing that endangers public health? To what extent do state and federal inspectors currently interact?

  2. Public Health Concerns regarding Transport, Storage, Processing and Disposal of Poultry and Other Mammals at Live Markets - It is documented that improper care of animals at such markets not only contribute to the spread of avian influenza, but E. coli and salmonella as well. Is the current regulatory framework effective? Do training programs exist for market employees? Do humane standards exist for these animals?

  3. Local Zoning and Citing of Live Bird Markets - In some areas, local zoning allows live poultry markets in light manufacturing and other districts. Because there is often residential housing in light manufacturing zones, how is the quality of life for these residents impacted? To what extent can local zoning mitigate negative impacts of bird markets on residents? Does the New York City Department of City Planning have a program in place to ensure poultry markets that also host red-meat facilities are zoned differently that those that offer only poultry?

  4. Air and Water Quality - Especially during summer months, live poultry operations produce considerable odors. Does the New York City Department of Environmental Protection have an existing program to regularly monitor these facilities to minimize odor and potential water contamination due to inadequate backflow prevention devices? Is the agency responsive to consumer complaints?


Persons wishing to attend the public roundtable on Current Issues Facing Live Bird Markets in New York City are requested to complete this reply form as soon as possible and mail it to:

Bill Ketzer
Senior Policy Analyst
Assembly Committee on Agriculture
Room 513 - Capitol
Albany, New York 12248
Email: ketzerw@assembly.state.ny.us
Phone: (518) 455-4355
Fax: (518) 455-7250

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