Letter of Support
We are participants of the Avian Welfare Coalition (AWC), an international working alliance of representatives from avian rescue and animal protection groups dedicated to the ethical treatment and protection of parrots and other birds living in captivity and in their natural habitats. The AWC works to generate awareness and to facilitate cooperation among all AWC Participants in addressing the concerns of captive bird welfare.
We are writing today in support of the Pet Facilities Bill, AB 536, and to encourage you to vote in support of its passage.
Captive birds are the third most popular animal kept as 'pets' in the U.S. As a result, the problems facing the millions of parrots and other exotic birds in the pet trade are numerous and pervasive.
Having this many birds being sold through private breeders and retail outlets poses many problems, including those of improper care, disease and illness transmission, improper hand-feeding techniques, and overcrowding. These issues not only affect the birds, but also the consumers who purchase these animals.
Improper care (including lack of necessary foods, veterinary care, and cleaning practices) can lead to disease and illness, which are easily transmitted between birds when they are overcrowded and/or when proper quarantine and veterinary procedures are not followed. Some illnesses are transmittable to humans, including Psittacosis, which causes flu-like symptoms and can be very dangerous in young children, the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems. Psittacosis is a reportable disease and pet stores can be quarantined if only one bird tests positive for it.
The hand-feeding of young, unweaned chicks can cause a myriad of health and behavioral problems in exotic birds. The state of California recently passed a bill that prohibits the sale of unweaned birds in pet stores and at bird marts. Birds can easily be killed by improper hand-feeding techniques, or can develop problems such as aspiration pneumonia, burned or punctured crops, bacterial infections, or malnutrition. Improper hand-feeding and weaning techniques have been linked to behavioral problems such as excessive screaming, feather plucking, self-mutilation, and aggression. These issues pose problems not only for the birds, but for the consumers of those birds as well.
While prices for medium and large exotic birds range from $500 to $2000, veterinary expenses resulting from illness or problems caused by improper hand-feeding can cost consumers thousands of dollars more. Many consumers who purchase birds from pet stores are faced not only with these monetary costs, but also with the emotional distress of caring for a bird sold prematurely or an ill bird who may not live due to the conditions they were kept while in a pet store, or due to the lack of education and proper screening provided by the pet store.
The Pet Facilities Bill now has an amendment to protect birds and reptiles, which we applaud. Please now take the next step to protect these animals, and the consumers who will purchase them, from improper care, and the results of improper care, in the future. Please vote in support of AB 536.
The Avian Welfare Coalition has a very informative website at: http://www.avianwelfare.org.
The Reintroduced PFL (pdf) * Recommended Administrative Rules (pdf ) * Acrobat Reader
AB 536 Authors and Cosponsors * Our Supporters * Funding Analysis
Tips for Contacting Elected Officials * E-mail Addresses
Pet March on the Capitol * Puppy Mill Links