Animal rights groups demand the ouster of Livestock chief over rabies spread

Anti-corruption and animal rights activists rallied in front of the Livestock Development Department (LDD) on Tuesday (April 24) to demand the ouster of the department chief for their alleged failure to contain rabies and for their alleged lack of transparency in the procurement of anti-rabies vaccine.

Atchariya Ruangrattanapong, leader of the grouping to assist crime victims, blamed LDD director-general Apai Suttisunk for the death of seven people from rabies.

The group also called on the LDD to stop mass killing of dogs as a mean to contain rabies outbreak.

The LDD earlier dismissed the allegations that its anti-rabies vaccines are substandard, resulting in the outbreak of rabies.

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Meanwhile, the LDD has announced Krabi as a temporary rabies epidemic zone, bringing the total number of provinces being declared as temporary rabies epidemic zones to 38.

Mr Apai stressed the need to declare rabies epidemic zone so that livestock officials could control the movement of mammals or their carcasses into and out of the zone and veterinarians could take immediate action to deal with animals suspected to be infected with rabies.

He disclosed that officials have, so far, vaccinated 4.3 million cats and dogs and, by the end of the year, about 8.2 million would have been vaccinated.

Mr Narong Boonphan, a livestock official attached to Lamtap district of Krabi, said that Village 3 of Tambon Thung Saithong, Lamtap district and surrounding areas of 5-kilometre radius from the village were declared epidemic zone after one suspected rabid dog was found on April 19.

He urged anyone in the zone who was scratched or bitten by the dog to see a doctor immediately. Also, owners of dogs and cats in the zone were advised to bring their animals for vaccination.

Four rabid dogs were found in Lamtap district last year and two were found this year.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (ThaiPBS)