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PETA calls on Thai officials to ban photos with exotic animals due to Covid-19

Caitlin Ashworth



Screenshot via Tiger Kingdom Facebook

After reports that some exotic cats and primates in captivity have tested positive for Covid-19, animal rights activists are calling on Thailand’s public health minister to ban all photo opportunities with the exotic animals to avoid potential coronavirus outbreaks either from human to animal, or from animal to human.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, better known as PETA, wrote a letter to Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, urging him to ban the exotic animal photos. They say the photo opportunities are still operating in Thailand and are “undermining efforts to control the pandemic.”

The Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo, Bangkok’s Safari World and the well-known Tiger Kingdom, which has locations in Chiang Mai and Phuket, are allowing visitors to come in close contact and take photos with wild animals like tiger, orangutans and monkeys, according to PETA’s senior vice president Jason Baker.

“Places like these have numerous guests every day, and it would take only one infected person to start another coronavirus disaster.”

In the letter, Baker says the Covid-19 transmissions between captive animals and humans have been documented in other parts of the world, like a zoo in Spain where some captive tigers were infected by asymptomatic employees. He warns Thailand’s health minister that if big cats or primates catch the virus, it could lead to a new variant.

“If they catch the virus, it can mutate and another new strain might be unleashed on the human population.”


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  1. Avatar


    Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 4:22 pm

    “If they catch the virus, it can mutate and another new strain might be unleashed on the human population.”

    How many qualifiers? Havent they got anybody else they can bother?

  2. Avatar


    Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 4:43 pm

    Photo ops with primates is another way to make money here.

  3. Avatar


    Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 5:16 pm

    So Craig when did they let people start having photos with the government 555

  4. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 5:30 pm

    Just put face masks on the animals.

    • Avatar


      Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 6:31 pm

      I saw one dog with a mask on today here in nyc. Seriously infected by paranoia virus

  5. Avatar


    Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 7:53 pm

    The world’s gone mad omg

  6. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 8:40 pm

    As Dudley Moore said, “They’re all C#@%S OUT THERE!!!!”

  7. Avatar


    Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 8:54 pm

    Smart move by PETA. Their main concern is of course the general welfare of the animal but it will make the Thai government think. Unfortunately this ‘monkey business’ will go on as soon as Covid is under control.

    It’s so primitive to want to be seen on a ‘cool’ picture with drugged animals.

  8. Avatar

    Jim kelly

    Thursday, February 11, 2021 at 9:58 pm

    YEAH, “TIGER KINGDOM”…CHIANG MAI… ALL BIG CATS DRUGGED!!! DEFFO!! NO PUDDY CAT THE SIZE OF A HONDA BRIO SPENDS ITS LIFE ASLEEP ALL THE TIME!!! These are killing machines.. designed by nature to rip, tear, gouge and roar!! NOT FECKIN’ ZZZZzzzzzzzz all day long!!

  9. Avatar

    James Pate

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Anyone who poses w/ a wild animal, even in a zoo, is nuts. A few years ago, a Chinese lady was bitten on the nose by a snake! The argument about Covid may be a bit of a stretch. The better argument is that it’s simply unsafe. Even a doped up animal may have a flash of lucidity and remember that humans are prey.

  10. Avatar

    Jesus Monroe

    Friday, February 12, 2021 at 11:37 am

    I hate it when leopards take selfies with exotic animals…….I know slugger I need to grow up…….

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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