Paris shuts down 'cruel' live bird market near Notre Dame cathedral

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The Paris city council on Wednesday agreed to shut down a live bird market operating in the historic centre close to Notre Dame cathedral, responding to rights activists who called it "a cruel and archaic operation".

The bird market on Louis Lépine square located on Île de la Cité in the centre of the French capital has long been a fixture, operating close to the famous flower market.

But Christophe Najdovski, Paris' deputy mayor in charge of biodiversity and animal welfare, said that the market was a centre for bird trafficking in France while conditions for the birds were not acceptable.

"This is why we are committed to changing the regulations to ban the sale of birds and other animals," he said.

Bird trafficking

The closure had been urged by activists from the Paris Animals Zoopolis collective who had called the practice of showing the caged birds "cruel and archaic".

France has in recent months adopted a series of measures aiming to show they are at the forefront of efforts to protect animal welfare.

The government said in September it planned to "gradually" ban mink farms as well the use of wild animals in travelling circuses and dolphins and orcas in theme parks.

Parc Asterix, which normally has some two million visitors a year, announced last month it would close its dolphin and sea lion aquarium.

While the French parliament also begun a debate on animal welfare last month, seeking to introduce more controls for pet owners.

(with AFP)