CHIANG RAI – Eight animal rights groups have launched a campaign on the Change.org website to demand justice in regard to the more than 200 pet dogs and cats recently culled in two villages by livestock officials in Chiang Rai.
The campaign was started three days ago by the Save Elephant Foundation, Sos Animals Thailand, The Hope Thailand, A Call For Animal Rights Thailand, Thai Love Animals, and Watchdog Thailand with the goal of getting 7,000 signatures.
As of Tuesday, 6,316 has signed up.
The signatures will be sent to the Chiang Rai Livestock Office to demand legal action against officials of the Mae Fah Luang district livestock office, who allegedly coerced and forced the residents of two villages in the district to hand over their pets for culling in order to prevent the spread of rabies.
The organizer of the campaign said in the campaign message that those responsible for issuing the “massacre orders” must be brought to justice for refraining to take legal steps in handling the matter.
The message said the livestock officials should have informed villagers that they had the option of detaining their pets during the rabies-control period, instead of coercing them into handing over all of the animals for the cull.
According to the campaign organizer, livestock officials on January 5 killed 21 dogs and cats in Ban Mae Salaeb village, but found that only three of them tested positive for rabies.
On the following day, they held a meeting with Ban Mae Saleb villagers and coerced them into resolving to hand over their approximately 100 pet dogs and cats for culling.
The villagers offered to detain their pets, but the officials convinced them that all of the animals must be destroyed, the organizer said.
Then, on January 25, the officials used a similar tactic to coerce residents of Ban Jalor village to hand over their roughly 100 pets to be culled the following day.
After the cull of the 200 pets at the two villages made headlines, residents of Ban Lise in the same district refused to hand over their pets to the officials and voted to detain them during the rabies control period in line with an option that must be made available to owners under rabies control measures, the campaigner explained.