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Stricken horse farm owners consider suing government over AHS virus outbreak

Jack Burton

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Stricken horse farm owners consider suing government over AHS virus outbreak | The Thaiger
PHOTO: mcot.net
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An outbreak of African Horse Sickness has already killed more than 200 horses in 4 provinces, including Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Phetchaburi since it was first reported on March 26. Now, at least 1 owner of a horse farm is considering suing the National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, along with other agencies, for approving imports of wildlife from Africa. African zebras are believed to be the source of the disease that has killed many prized racehorses.

The owner of a racehorse farm in in Nakhon Ratchasima, Uthen Chatphinyo, says AHS has killed 21 of his 160 horses. The dead horses were valued at around 50 million baht. The owner of another farm says he’s lost 20 horses that he bred for sale. Each horse was valued at 400,000 to 800,000 baht.

A group of owners and academics yesterday asked the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry to include AHS in the list of diseases to be controlled under the Animal Outbreaks Act. The act bans any movements of horses, prohibits the import of zebras and other wildlife species, and mandates a panel to deal with AHS.

A former dean of the Faculty of Fisheries at Kasetsart University says it’s important to find out who imported AHS-infected wildlife from Africa which led to the transmission of the disease to local horses.

“Zebras, for instance, are freely imported through Suvarnabhumi International Airport as though they were cats or dogs. This is because zebras are not among the controlled species under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora. The state must investigate and find out exactly how many zebras were brought in between last December and February of this year and where the imported animals are.”

The Bangkok Post reports that, in February, some zebras were reportedly sold to buyers in the Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan instead of being re-exported to China as planned. Blood tests revealed that these zebras were infected with AHS.

An investigation soon discovered that the outbreak began on Feb 24 at several farms in Nakhon Ratchasima in Thailand’s north-east. The department took all possible measures to contain the outbreak including screening horses, testing their blood for AHS and instructing farms not to move their horses.

There is a vaccine for AHS, but it is not currently available in Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in North East Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Jack Burton is a writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. He attended the Henry Grady School of Journalism and his works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world.

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Hua Hin

Horse riding makes a comeback on Hua Hin beaches

Maya Taylor

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Horse riding makes a comeback on Hua Hin beaches | The Thaiger

From next Friday, horses are expected back on the beaches of Hua Hin, on the Gulf of Thailand. It follows the easing of more Covid-19 restrictions last week as Prachuap Khiri Khan officials allowed some businesses, including horse-riding operations, to reopen. It’s understood that hotels, department stores and shopping malls are also back in business.

Hua Hin is starting to welcome more visitors and horse-riding on the beach has always been a popular activity with families who have young children. It’s hoped the operators of horse-riding centres can now start earning a living, having been severely affected by both the Covid-19 crisis and the outbreak of the African Horse virus, which has killed at least 500 horses across Thailand.

The chief veterinarian from Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Livestock Department, Chamorn Sakdinan, says a recently launched vaccination campaign has prevented any further deaths of horses in the region. He says horse owners can resume business provided their animals are kept in stables at night and under mosquito nets, to combat the mosquito-borne illness. He adds that owners will not have permission to move horses outside of Hua Hin.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Crime

19 kilograms of crystal meth, valued around 10 million baht, seized on Thai train

Jack Burton

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19 kilograms of crystal meth, valued around 10 million baht, seized on Thai train | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai Rath

2 people are in custody and 19 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine or “ya ice” has been seized after it was discovered in their bags on an express train from Bangkok to the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat last night. 22 year old Ekkapong Kaewsa, of Bangkok, and his female companion 23 year old Methanee Suparb from Si Sa Ket, were arrested by railway police as the train was approaching Hua Hin station about 6pm.

The railway police commander said the arrests followed a tip that couriers would be carrying illicit drugs on special express train 9085 from Bang Sue station in Bangkok to Nakhon Si Thammarat. Railway police were assigned to all carriages. As the train approached Hua Hin, officers noticed 2 passengers acting suspiciously. They approached and demanded to search the couple’s bags. Inside, they police found 19 plastic wrapped packages, each of which was found to contain a kilogram of crystal meth. The drugs are estimated to have a street value of about 10 million baht, according to police.

Ekkapong reportedly confessed to having smuggled drugs by train on several occasions. He said he had asked Methanee, a waitress, to accompany him on the trip to deliver the drugs to Nakhon Si Thammarat. He says he was paid 100,000 baht to make the delivery.

Police are expanding the investigation to find others involved and the source of the drugs.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Operating hours for airports across Thailand – CAAT

Anukul

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Operating hours for airports across Thailand – CAAT | The Thaiger
FILE PHOTO: Orange Smile

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand, along with the Ministry of Transport, has published the operational hours for Thailands’ recently re-opened airports. The operational hours and applicable provinces are as follows…

• Operational hours between 7am – 7pm, includes Nan, Phitsanulok, Phrae, Mae Sot, Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Phanom, Buri Ram, Roi Et, Sakon Nakhon, Udon Thani, Chumphon, Trang, Nakhon Si Thammarat and Ranong.

• Operational hours between 5am – 12am, includes Surat Thani Airport

• Operational hours between 6am – 6pm, includes Hua Hin Airport

• Operational hours between 6am – 10pm, includes Samui Airport

• Operational hours between 6am – 12am, including Chiang Mai Airport and Hat Yai

• Operational hours, 24 hour service, including Krabi, U-Tapao, Chiang Rai, Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi

The ban does not apply to state or military aircraft, emergency landing, technical landing without disembarkation, humanitarian aid, medical and relief flights, repatriation flights and cargo flights.

However, the CAAT recommends that passenger check with provincial measures. Airlines also have a list of important changes to travel conditions and safety measures and request that any travellers are aware of the changes before making bookings and flying.

For more information contact 02 568 8800 or visit their website.

SOURCE: The Thaiger / Chiang Mai News

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