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9 Feb, 2021 16:10

Paris to shut iconic bird market over animal welfare concerns

Paris to shut iconic bird market over animal welfare concerns

The Council of Paris voted to prohibit the sale of birds and other live animals, as the French capital’s famous bird market near Notre-Dame Cathedral faces closure over animal welfare concerns.

Paris City Hall made the decision as officials felt that the birds were being held in crowded conditions, and that the animals’ needs and well-being was not being considered. There were also concerns that the market, which dates back to the 19th century, encouraged the trafficking of birds.

Currently, 13 companies are licensed to operate at the market, with seven of those stalls selling birds, but city officials found that, in recent years, unlicensed street traders have apparently been using the site to peddle their illegal trade. 

Animal welfare groups such as Paris Animaux Zooplis (PAZ) had called on officials to close the bird market, calling its existence “cruel and archaic”, with one petition securing 2,500 signatures from individuals who believed the animals were deprived “of their liberty and their most elementary behavior.” 

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The closure decision follows a Council of Paris vote in December that sought to renovate the market and improve its internal regulations, as well as a 2013 investigation by France’s National Hunting and Wildlife Office (ONCFS) that resulted in the arrest of seven people and the seizure of dozens of birds. The market is due to receive €5 million ($6.05 million) between 2023 to 2025 in renovation funds.

The local government in Paris has been working to address animal rights issues in the city, including banning the sale of kittens and puppies under the age of six months in pet shops from 2022 and prohibiting the use of live bait by anglers.

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