Canaries, parakeets and zebra finches will no longer be sold from small cages in the shadow of Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. The city voted to close its 19th-century bird market, deeming it inappropriate for this day and age.
Held on Sundays, the market on the Île de la Cité island in the Seine river has been a magnet for tourists and Parisians with children for decades.
An animal rights group campaign against the bird marker and plans to renovate the area, made the city council decide to close the market.
“The market had become the epicentre of bird trafficking in the Paris region, including of endangered birds,” Paris deputy mayor Christophe Najdovksi told Reuters.
“A second reason for closing it is that the conditions in which the birds are presented are no longer acceptable,” he said.
Animal rights activist Amandine Sanvisens of Paris Animaux Zoopolis said the bird market closure is long overdue. “We want to put an end to the idea of merchandising animals, because we think that animals are not merchandise, they are not objects.”
“And they should not be sold like shoes or handbags. We’re more favorable to the idea of having them adopted.”
“Animals are not merchandise. They should not be sold like shoes or handbags.”Amandine Sanvisens – Paris Animaux Zoopolis
But the market isn’t closing immediately. The bird market is expected to close when the city completes the renovation of the flower market hall in 2023-25. Until then, birds will still be stuck in tiny cages and sold to whoever wants them.
“In coming months, we will help the bird sellers transition towards a new business model,” Najdowski said.
Albert Badalamenti, 63, who has been selling birds on the market for 38 years, acknowledged that some sellers were not respecting the rules but said it was up to the police to enforce those.
“They (Paris City Hall) said that they would recycle, find us another job. What I fear is bankruptcy. What are we going to do with all this stock?” he said, pointing at outdoor aviaries holding hundreds of birds at his breeding station north of Paris.