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 euthanized.
Meanwhile pet stores across the country, including Petco and PetsMart, continue to treat birds like merchandise peddling them into the pet trade. Pet stores that sell live animals are routinely faced with conflicting responsibilities between caring for the health and well-being of the animals and protecting the store's bottom line. More often than not it's the bottom line that prevails.
You Can Help
Join API and the Avian Welfare Coalition in its second annual National Day of Action for Captive birds by helping to educate the public about issues affecting captive birds and by asking Petco and PetsMart not to sell live birds in their stores.
There are many ways you can participate:
Three videos are available from AWC members:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 API, P.O. Box 22505, Sacramento, CA 95822.Posted 09/09/03
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