Join us in demanding strong protections for birds under the Animal Welfare Act. For 50 years, the US Department of Agriculture has arbitrarily denied
birds the protection to which they are entitled under the federal Animal Welfare Act (AWA). In 2000, after settling a lawsuit against the department, USDA was supposed to adopt regulations to protect birds. Unfortunately, an amendment to the 2002 federal Farm Bill wound up limiting those protections to birds exploited by the pet and entertainment industries, used in exhibition, or wild-caught for use in research. However, the USDA has dragged its feet for 20 years and, as a result, the Animal Welfare Act still has no standards of care for birds. In 2018, the USDA was sued, again, on behalf of the birds, and in 2020, the birds won! But there is still more work to do before birds finally get the legal protection they deserve!
As the result of that lawsuit, brought by the American Anti-Vivisection Society (AAVS) and the Avian Welfare Coalition (AWC), the USDA is now subject to a court order to write regulations to protect these birds
. This will be the first time that enforceable, legal standards of care will be extended to birds used in commercial enterprises and wild-caught birds used for research, even though they have been entitled to them since 1970!
Unscrupulous bird dealers and operators of heinous "bird mills" that keep these sensitive and intelligent animals in cramped barren cages for profit in the pet trade will once again fight to delay and weaken the standards as much as possible, so it is urgent that USDA hear from you in support of strong regulations to protect birds. Sign the petition calling on the USDA to adopt comprehensive care standards governing the care of captive birds under the Animal Welfare Act that take into consideration their unique physical and behavioral needs. The minimum protections afforded under the AWA have been denied to these species for too long; the Department should propose new regulations quickly.To learn more, check out the Avian Welfare Coalition's FAQ.
Don't forget to join AAVS's online community to ensure that you stay up to date on our effort to gain protections for birds under the Animal Welfare Act.
To Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue:
USDA must adopt comprehensive care standards governing the care of captive birds under the Animal Welfare Act that take into consideration their unique physical and behavioral needs. The new AWA regulations covering these birds should, at a minimum, accomplish the following: 1. Prohibit the sale of unweaned baby birds
. These young, fragile birds are at a great risk of succumbing to disease, mishandling, and the extreme hazards of transport. 2. Require environmental enrichment for all birds
. Achieving the AWA's goal of ensuring "humane care and treatment" requires that their species-specific physical and psychological needs be met. 3. Require health certificates and record keeping for all birds
. To prevent the transmission of disease and to provide a barrier to the illegal trade in wild-caught birds adequate records and disease testing is essential. 4. Enclosures that enable the birds to express normal behavior including flight
. Confinement in cages causes poor welfare in birds and can lead to destructive habits including feather plucking. Birds need to be able to express their natural behaviors including flight. 5. Prohibit painful physical mutilations
. Pinioning (severing of wing muscles or amputation of wings), toe clipping, devoicing, beak alterations are examples of painful procedures that are typically done for the convenience of keepers and not for the welfare of the bird.
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