11 July 2024

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) is to tighten up rules on the trading of animals at Chatuchak market’s pet zone, by requiring traders to apply for licenses from both the BMA and the Livestock Development Department. This follows a devastating fire in the pet zone early Tuesday morning, which caused the deaths of an estimated 5,000 animals.

Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt admitted that it cannot yet be ascertained how many animals of how many species died in the fire, because there were many pet shops operating without licenses.

According to the BMA, there are also about another 200 pet shops scattered across Bangkok which do not have the appropriate operating licenses. They have been told to apply for licences from the BMA by July 18th.

He also said, however, that the BMA will provide 11,400 baht in compensation to each properly registered trader affected by the blaze.

He indicated that it will be some time before the pet zone reopens, noting that all the traders will now have to hold two licenses, one from the BMA and the other from the Livestock Development Department.

Meanwhile, Roger Lohanan, secretary-general of the Thai Animals Protection Association, and a network of animal welfare protection groups, submitted a 3-point proposal to the BMA, calling for a fact-finding probe into the fire by a neutral body, as well as the standardisation of the pet market, with the emphasis on animal safety, fire prevention systems and strict enforcement of the law and regulations regarding the trade in animals.

Layin Petcharat, of the SOS Animal Thailand Foundation, an animal rights protection group, said that her organisation has been proposing that all pet shops should be equipped with fire prevention systems since the enforcement of the animal welfare law in 2021, but this has been rejected on the grounds that the traders are all animal lovers and can deal with safety problems themselves.

She also noted that the exhibition of pets and exotic animals in shopping malls is organised without regard to their safety, including being left overnight without proper care.