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Lampang’s horses, and their caretakers, doing it tough

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: The Petition Site

2020 has been a bleak year for horses and their owners in northern Thailand. Horses and their and caretakers in Lampang province are now starving. Travel restrictions due to the national state of emergency and the Covid-19 crisis mean no income for the owners, and no grass or hay for the horses to feed on.

A local rescue team presented 84 horse caretakers with aid packages and some cash yesterday as they’re making no income because there are no tourists. Many families are having a hard time making ends meet and have no cash for horse feed. The horse-drawn carriage business in Lampang may come to a stop if the situation continues.

Lampang is one of the few tourist locations in the world where there are still horse carriages. Narong Chairungroung, one of some 200 horse caretakers in Lampang, revealed that over 700 of their family members are being affected by the Covid-19 crisis. Narong says he has 11 horses and 2 carriages. He and his wife have been working for over 20 years in the horse carriage business and normally make about 300-600 baht per journey. The income has been enough to send his children to school and make monthly payments. But now, he says, he tries to find food from different sources every day, but there is no money to buy grass which is about 200 baht per day for the 6 horses.

37 year old Thitirat Kittikam, another horse caretaker, inherited his business from his father. He started at 18, a total of 19 years working with horses. His horses are getting thin as there is not enough grass every day to feed them. It has been 2 months since the horse carriages were ordered off the roads.

The vice-governor of Lampang has heard the voices of horse caretakers and the province is working with the Lampang Department of Livestock Development to provide grass and food for the horses.

Elsewhere in Thailand, an outbreak of African Horse Sickness is killing horses in their hundreds in Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachuap Khiri Khan, Chon Buri and Phetchaburi, some of them race horses worth millions. Stricken farmers want action from the government and are pondering legal action, saying the plague is the result of importation of African zebras.

Lampang's horses, and their caretakers, doing it tough | News by Thaiger

PHOTO: Better days for Lampang’s horse-drawn carriages – thaizer.com

SOURCE: Thai Residents

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. 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. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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