July 14, 2024

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Thailand market fire kills more than 1,000 animals, sparking calls for its suppression Thailand

Thailand market fire kills more than 1,000 animals, sparking calls for its suppression  Thailand

Animal welfare experts have called for a crackdown on the sale of wild animals in Thailand, after a fire swept through the pet area of ​​Bangkok’s most famous open-air market, killing more than 1,000 animals.

Puppies, kittens, fish, snakes, swans, cockatoos and rabbits inside cages reportedly died in the fire that started early Tuesday morning and burned about 1,300 square meters of Chatuchak’s weekend market.

The cause of the fire is being investigated, according to Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sitipunt.

Police Inspector Fuadun Onfo said that about 118 shops were burned, and the initial examination indicates that the fire was caused by an electrical short circuit.

The market is one of the largest in Southeast Asia, attracting tourists from all over the world to its shops selling anything from plants and ceramics to food and clothing.

Pet shop owner inspects damage after fire. Photograph: Sakshay Lalit/AP

Conservationists have accused the pet section of the market of selling endangered species and keeping the animals in poor conditions. Sellers have in the past denied breaking any laws.

Lake Schillert, founder of the Save Elephant Foundation, said Tuesday’s fire underscores the need to improve animal care and regulation of animal husbandry. “We have to wonder how these animals ended up in such harsh conditions,” she said in a statement.

“I call on the government to respond transparently and implement measures to regulate the breeding and sale of wild animals in markets. There must be clear laws governing international animal trade and protecting animal welfare in Thailand,” she said.

Animal cages destroyed after the fire. Photography: Chalini Thirasuba/Reuters

Edwin Wake, founder and director of Friends of Wildlife, said the market was a “disgrace to the city of Bangkok.”

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“It has been allowed to continue selling animals unethically and often illegally for a very long time. We urge the Bangkok city administration to act now and stop this place from selling animals, especially wild animals,” Wick said.