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Animal Welfare and Cultural Issues

Thailand - Animal Welfare and Cultural Issues

There are a number of animal welfare charities working in Thailand but the country does have a poor reputation in the area of animal welfare. It is considered that the Thai authorities have done little to address the issue and are happy to leave it to the charities to sort out.

There is currently no legislation in Thailand as regards animal welfare apart from a mention in the Criminal Law, which states that it is illegal to commit an act of cruelty towards an animal and that the maximum sentence is one month in prison or a fine of 1000 THB or both. However, this is no evidence that this clause is enforced and there is no clarification on what constitutes cruelty. At the current time there is a bill waiting to be approved by the government which is called ‘The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Animal Welfare Bill’ but it seems as though this will take a long time to be approved and put into practice. It is expected that this will only help in the long term and that in the short term very little will change. The bill will not help to educate people about animals and will not change their attitude towards them.

In rural Thailand there are many stray and abandoned animals. These are neglected animals which tend to become aggressive around people as they seek to protect themselves. It should be noted that not everybody in Thailand treats animals like this and in most areas there are people who will ensure that the animals have enough food.

There have also been concerns for the plight of wild animals in Thailand. Animals such as tigers and elephants are rapidly reducing in numbers and the conservation schemes that are in place are fairly basic.

Charities that work for the welfare of animals include the Wild Animal Rescue Foundation of Thailand. The charity is staffed by volunteers and dates back to 1992. The main activities of the charity are the conservation of animals and their natural habitats, education about their welfare and taking steps to put an end to the trade in wild animals.

The Noistar Thai Animal Rescue Foundation works on the island of Koh Tao. The charity was founded in 2002 and runs a veterinary clinic and rescue centre. The charity has a large number of volunteers as well as full time staff and relies on donations. Phangan Animal Care runs a charity which takes care of stray and unwanted animals. The charity runs a vaccination programme, a veterinary clinic and works in local schools to educate children about animals and their care.

As with those charities already mentioned, many are local charities. Thailand does not have an equivalent to the RSPCA or the PDSA so there are few charities which work on a national basis.

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