Thai poultry firm threatens to sue NGO

By Oscar Rousseau

- Last updated on GMT

Thailand's poultry industry has been plagued by abuse allegations
Thailand's poultry industry has been plagued by abuse allegations

Related tags Human rights Poultry farming Thailand Poultry

A chicken supplier in Thailand may open a lawsuit against a non-governmental organisation (NGO) over alleged claims of human trafficking. 

This site received a letter from Thai broiler farm Thammakaset, based in Lopburi, which said it plans to open legal proceedings against an unnamed NGO for allegedly discrediting the Thai business.

Over the last few years, Thailand’s seafood industry has been rocked by allegations of slavery and human trafficking. This led to sweeping reform in the country, but attention has recently turned to the poultry sector. Claims of human rights abuse​ have garnered global media coverage in the last few months. This sparked Thailand’s government​ and the Thai Broilers Processing Exporters Association​ to sign a memorandum of understanding in August 2016 to improve labour standards in Thailand’s chicken industry.

Thammakaset, which operates three poultry farms named Thammakaset 1, 2 and 3, claims the global media coverage has had a damaging impact on its business. The handwritten letter Globalmeatnews received was written in five different languages. In it, the anonymous author claims Thammakaset has been “falsely accused of human trafficking​” by an unnamed NGO.

Job losses

The letter reads: “We are broiler farmers, whose financial situations and educational backgrounds are not particularly good, from Thailand. We raise chickens at the farms Thammakaset 1, 2 and 3. However, we all are no longer working and on the verge of losing our jobs due to claims of an NGO."

The letter claims a string of Thammakaset’s customers in EU states have cancelled orders from the business, which said its farms are “verging on going out of business​”.

The author goes on to claim three public sector organisations in Thailand finished investigations on 19 September, all of which concluded the business was not guilty of the claims made by the NGO.

Modern-day slavery claims

Earlier in September, Thai-Burmese charity Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN) helped 14 people bring a case against Thailand’s poultry exporter Betagro Group​ The Burmese migrants, supported by MWRN, alleged they were mistreated at Thammakaset 2, which supplied Betagro with live chickens.

In August, MWRN claimed the Burmese migrants working at Thammakaset 2 where forced to work up to 20 hours per day, had their passports confiscated, and had limits placed on their freedom of movement. However, MWRN has always maintained that this case is not an example of human trafficking, despite contrary claims from Thammakaset.

In a statement sent to Globalmeatnews​ on 4 August 2016, MWRN said: “MWRN doesn’t claim this case is human trafficking according to the definition adopted by Thai law, the worker’s alleged serious rights violation claims in this case go far beyond a basic wage claims or labour rights dispute case.​”

MWRN published a statement on 29 July 2016, in which it confirmed the UK NGO was working with migrant workers who claimed to be from Thammakaset 2.

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