Caged Animals Die in Pet Markets After Pakistan Went Into Lockdown

Caged Animals Die in Pet Markets After Pakistan Went Into Lockdown

The dead bodies of caged cats, dogs and rabbits have been discovered inside Pakistan’s pet markets that were abandoned when the country went into lockdown.  

As the coronavirus pandemic grew, Pakistan’s major cities were plunged into lockdown which forced many shops to close.

Only market stalls selling essential goods such as food and medicine were allowed to continue operating.

It left pet shop owners blocked from their businesses, some resorting to sneaking in at night to feed the animals.

When animal activist Ayesha Chundrigar arrived at Karachi’s sprawling Empress Market she said she could hear the cries of animals that had survived for two weeks after the lockdown was announced.

Starving and locked in cages with no light or ventilation, the surviving pets sat among the dead, trembling.

A Facebook video shows animals being rescued from the pet market.

In the six-minute clip ACF Animal rescue volunteers can be seen unloading dozens of animals.

The animals were only rescued after activists appeals to authorities for access.

Chundrigar, who runs ACF Animal Rescue, said:  ‘When we got inside, the majority of them were dead, about 70 percent. Their bodies were lying on the ground.

‘It was so horrific, I can’t tell you.’

A strict nationwide ban is also in place against public gatherings and religious congregations.

After the desperate rescue, Chundrigar has now convinced the Karachi authorities to allow pet shop owners and her team daily access to the animals.

Animals met with a similar fate in the eastern city of Lahore.

The bodies of about 20 dogs were found dumped in a sewer near Tollinton Market, a hub for pet businesses which had closed leaving animals to starve.

Kiran Maheen was able to rescue more than two dozen dogs, rabbits and cats after convincing officials at the market to let her in, but a large number had already died.

Maheen said: ‘When the police opened up the shutters, a lot of animals were already lying dead inside,’ adding that many had suffocated from a lack of air.

Pakistani authorities have confirmed 2,900 cases of coronavirus 19 and 45 deaths, though the tally is thought to be higher because of testing limitations.

Around 25 percent of the population already live under the poverty line, but millions more who earn a daily wage have joined them since the lockdown began, experts say.

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