Graham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets

Graham asks colleagues to support call for China to close wet markets
© Bonnie Cash

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSchumer to GOP: Cancel 'conspiracy hearings' on origins of Russia probe Graham announces hearing on police use of force after George Floyd killing In a new cold war with China, America may need to befriend Russia MORE (R-S.C.) called on his Senate colleagues to sign on to a letter to the ambassador from China urging Beijing to rethink a decision to open so-called wet markets, where live animals are killed and sold in often unsanitary conditions.

In a series of tweets, the Republican senator pointed to remarks from Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Defense: Trump extends deployment of National Guard troops to aid with coronavirus response | Pentagon considers reducing quarantine to 10 days | Lawmakers push for removal of Nazi headstones from VA cemeteries Don't move the COVID-19 goalpost Overnight Health Care: Sewage testing gives clues of coronavirus | White House says Trump would take hydroxychloroquine again | Trump marks 'very sad milestone' of 100K virus deaths MORE, the top infectious disease expert with the White House coronavirus task force, who called China's decision to reopen the markets misguided. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak, which has sickened hundreds of thousands around the world, is thought to have begun in China's Hubei province, where numerous cases were reportedly linked to a now-shuttered wet market known as the Huanan Seafood Market. The market was reportedly known for selling exotic game alongside more common animals, many of which were slaughtered onsite.

"Just spoke with Dr. Fauci on a conference call about China's decision to reopen their wet markets," Graham wrote. "He emphatically stated this was a crazy decision by China which puts the world's health at risk."

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"Bringing wild and exotic animals to open markets to interact with humans and other food supplies is both crazy and dangerous," the senator continued. "Hope my Republican and Democratic Senate colleagues will sign onto my letter to the Chinese Ambassador to the U.S. urging the immediate closure of these wet markets for the safety of the world at large."

Graham's tweets come one day after the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee urged the World Health Organization (WHO) to push for stricter controls on China's animal trade.

“While I welcomed the announcement last month that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has permanently banned the trade and consumption of non-aquatic wild animals, I share the concerns of many in the conservation community that this ban does not go far enough,” Rep. Michael McCaulMichael Thomas McCaulHouse passes bill that would sanction Chinese officials over Xinjiang camps The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga says supporting small business single most important thing we should do now; Teva's Brendan O'Grady says U.S. should stockpile strategic reserve in drugs like Strategic Oil Reserve House GOP to launch China probes beyond COVID-19 MORE (R-Texas) wrote in a letter to the body. “The policy does not ban the trade of wild animals for fur, medicine, or research, and I believe that these loopholes may be exploited to illegally sell or trade these animals."