The Animal Protection Institute (API) in coordination with
the Avian Welfare Coalition (AWC) is calling on activists around the U.S.
to take action on behalf of captive birds by drawing attention to the
exploitation of other country’s native birds by the U.S. pet industry on
January 5 — National Bird Day.
"National Bird Day" is not only a good day to take time to
appreciate the native wild birds flying free outside our windows, it is
also a perfect time to reflect on how we treat the native birds of other
countries. While we have enacted laws to protect our native birds — such
as blue jays, cardinals, and crows — from commercial exploitation, we fail
to recognize the inconsistency in allowing the pet industry to exploit the
birds of other countries.
Even when bred in captivity, exotic birds are not
considered domesticated animals, and all their inherent behavioral and
physical needs remain intact. Sadly, when it comes to birds, deprivation
of their natural behaviors (to fly and flock, for example) is an
inescapable component of their captivity.
Each year thousands of birds are sold into the pet trade
to individuals who are under the mistaken impression that a bird will make
a perfect pet. Eventually, whether due to frustration, disinterest, or
concern, many people attempt to rid themselves of the responsibility of
caring for their birds. Unfortunately, few of these birds will find a
loving home, and most will spend their days isolated and confined to their
cages. Others will bounce from home to home as their caretakers tire of
them, and some may be abandoned at local shelters and birds rescues, set
free to fend for themselves, or are euthanized.
Meanwhile, pet stores across the country, including Petco
and PetsMart, continue to treat birds like merchandise peddling them into
the pet trade. The in-store care of animals in pet shops is always
suspect, because store managers are often faced with conflicting
responsibilities of caring for animals, even when the animals are sick,
and making a store profitable. Since the cost of veterinary care can
easily exceed the commercial value of an animal, common sense leads to the
conclusion that profits and animal care inherently conflict, especially in
a retail environment.
You Can Help
Join API, the Avian Welfare Coalition, and other animal
advocates across the country in celebrating the third annual National Bird
Day — a day of action for captive birds — by helping to educate the public
about issues affecting captive birds.
There are many ways you can participate. Visit
www.NationalBirdDay.org for sample letters, resources, materials and more
* Send a letter to the editor or Op-ed drawing attention
to the plight of captive exotic birds in this country. Sample letter
available at www.NationalBirdDay.org.
* Set up an educational display. Community centers and local or school
libraries often have exhibit cases that can be used for educational
displays. Just ask the manager or librarian how to make a reservation and
be willing to agree to some guidelines.
* Host a video showing. A video showing can consist of close friends or
family members viewing a video at home or reserving a classroom with a
standard television or big screen for the public. Videos are available
from AWC members. Visit www.NationalBirdDay.org for ordering information.
* Give a presentation at a school, children’s museums, boy’s and girl’s
club, or library. Ask the kids to draw or write on the theme "Born to be
Wild," comparing and contrasting our native birds to the native birds of
other countries, comparing and contrasting how birds live in the wild and
how they live in captivity, or how the wild bird trade impacts birds. More
ideas available at:
* Hold a peaceful protest and leaflet in front of a Petco or PetsMart to
educate their customers on why they should not support Petco or PetsMart
so long as they continue to sell birds. Or drive to your local Petco and
PetsMart stores and place flyers on the windshields of cars parked in the
<> A reproducible Petco/PETsMART flyer is available from API at
<>A variety of AWC flyers is available at
* Write letters to Petco and PetsMart and let them know why you won’t
patronize their stores. Sample letter available at www.NationalBirdDay.org.
Let us know your plans!
We would like to compile a list of activities complete
with contact information so that interested people team up to participate
in planned leafleting and tabling events in their area. So once you have
decided what you want to do, email Monica Engebretson at [email protected]
so we can add your action to our list of participants and activities. If
you get a letter to the editor published in a newspaper, please let us
know and send a copy if possible to:
P.O. Box 22505
Sacramento, CA 95822
For more information on exotic bird issues visit
Go on to Just The Facts
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