Speaking For Parrots

Parrots need your voice

People Are The Same All Over: A Hidden Truth In Aviculture

If you’re a fan of The Twilight Zone, you might recognize this title. It was an episode that first aired in 1960, and stars Roddy McDowell as Sam Conrad, one of two astronauts who crash-land on Mars. His compatriot, Mark Marcusson is optimistic about what they will find on Mars, as he believes all people throughout the Universe are just the same as the people on Earth. Conrad is much more pessimistic, and becomes more so after Marcusson dies from injuries sustained from their crash-landing. When Conrad goes outside the ship, he’s greeted by a group of Martians who look just like the people of Earth. They welcome him graciously, and he feels at ease. They offer him all the comforts of Earth in his new home, fully furnished right down to a bottle of fine Scotch; however, when Conrad looks for windows or tries to leave the house, he can’t. A wall then raises to expose cage bars, and a crowd of people staring at him from the other side. He then realizes that Marcusson was right, and as he grips the bars of his new cage he screams out, “Marcusson! You were right! People ARE alike! People are alike everywhere!”

This theme about being caged against a person’s will is one that appears over and over in different genres, but particularly in science fiction. It is the theme of the very first Star Trek episode titled (what else) “The Cage,” the movie Planet Of The Apes, the novel Slaughterhouse Five, as well as several other Twilight Zone episodes. It’s an idea that frightens us, and people have composed lofty writings with regard to the human spirit needing to be free and autonomous.  Yet, at the same time, imprisonment is something we humans inflict on others, human and nonhuman alike.

CP Enclosure Illiger's

Breeder Cherane Pefley’s enclosure for Illiger’s macaws. This is one of the nicer enclosures among aviculturists. (From her Facebook photos).

Let’s transfer this theme to our parrots. I know what some of you are thinking because I’ve heard it many times. “My parrot is happy. My parrot is rarely in her cage. My parrot is dearly loved.” There’s a lot I have to say about those kinds of statements, but companion parrots are not the subject of this post. I’m thinking about the parents of our beloved companion parrots.

TS Enclosure YSA 25 yrs old

Breeder Tony Silva’s yellow-shouldered Amazon, whom he bred himself 25 years ago. That’s 25 years in this environment. Again, this is one of the better enclosures in aviculture. (From his Facebook photos). EDIT: this parrot in particular has not been in these conditions for 25 years. That would be other parrots.

Much of what we know about the parrots who make babies for parrot breeders, also known as “aviculturists” comes from those aviculturists. We are assured over and over again that they are treated well, but if you have any kind of understanding about being caged, then you know there is no way these parrots can be happy. Sam Conrad in that episode of The Twilight Zone was lucky compared to what parent parrots are forced to endure. While Sam got a nicely furnished house, fine Scotch and all the comforts of “home,” this is not the case of breeder parrots. Most breeder parrots are in some kind of cage (home) that may or may not have enough room to even fly a short distance. They have few perches, usually there are no toys, and there is no enrichment whatsoever. They have a nest box. Period. They do what evolution predisposes them to do, which is create the next generation of their species.

HV Enclosures Nandays

This is one area of the large breeding facility owned by Howard Voren. These cages are very small with nothing but a nest box. The set up is no better than a puppy mill. (Photo from HSUS article “No Fly Zone.”)

Occasionally, aviculturists will allow a pair to raise one of their own chicks, usually to increase the breeding stock (it’s thought that parent-raised individuals make better breeder birds); however, most clutches are raided by human predators–that is aviculturists–who steal their eggs or young chicks. There is no explaining to these parents that their babies are going into homes to be loved (hopefully) by a human family. When aviculturists come to raid the nest box, parent birds are highly agitated and stressed, and they fight all they can to prevent their babies from what they perceive as a real threat to the lives of their offspring.  All of this– from the barren cages, to the stealing of babies– happens to these birds year after year after year. They never get to leave their houses, and they never get to drink that fine bottle of Scotch in a nicely furnished home. The only thing they look forward to is raising their young, and they don’t even get to do that.

Gracias grey

From the infamous Gracias seizure of many parrots living in conditions like this African grey. Many aviculturists defend the Gracias who were breeders, and go so far as to say the Humane Society staged it in order to set them up.

LD Defending Gracias

Breeder Laurella Desborough commenting on Facebook about the Gracias. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could fabricate the filth in which the Gracias’ breeder birds were forced to live.

I don’t know about you, but I can’t imagine this kind of a life for me or my parrots. It’s all too horrible to think about, which is why science fiction writers use this theme again and again. So think about this. Regardless of how happy and loved your parrot is, is it fair that their parents should live such dismal lives?

McManus Cage

A cage from the McManus breeding facility.

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39 comments on “People Are The Same All Over: A Hidden Truth In Aviculture

  1. David Bellamy
    January 4, 2015

    great article thank you, the breeders are a callous and expedient lot who will say whatever they need to to bring the bucks in. This is the product of torture.

    no birds should be caged it is anti-nature, it is monstrous of us humans to continue this abuse. We must grow up as a species

  2. Laurella Desborough
    January 5, 2015

    Okey dokey. That photo of an African grey with a dirty dish is NOT from the Gracia facility. I don’t know where it comes from, but I do know that the animal rights radicals will typically use photos from one situation and CLAIM it is from another. The Gracias had large flights for their birds! These people enjoyed their birds and made a point of providing a good situation for them. However, the local “authorities” who removed those birds also had free reign at the hearing where they presented fabricated information, which at a later case, was presented very differently! In other words, there were lots of lies in order to steal healthy well cared for birds that were then sold to new owners and the unwanted donated to the Oasis. In the meanwhile, those large macaws were warehoused in pet size cages, three to a cage. The dogs that were removed died of parvo due to the humane society’s unclean facility. In other words, birds were removed from large roomy flights and placed in small cages together! I was told by a local veterinarian that he was afraid to speak up for the Gracias due to the expected blowback and threats from the animal rights radicals.

    To assume that parrots think like humans is beyond stupid. Most of the time we do not know how birds think or feel. We can observe their actions and make guesses based on what we see. If parrots learn to speak, they sometimes tell us how they feel, not only about their physical health, but about their wants and wishes.

    For all those who think birds shouldn’t be caged and should fly free, I hope you are busy donating to conservation projects and helping to purchase habitat in those countries from which parrots originate, because right now their habitats are disappearing at a rapid rate. Whole islands are being clear cut so YOU can have the benefit of products which are made using palm oil, soybeans, (take note vegans that your soy products are causing wildlife deaths!), or sugar cane, or crude oil, or lumber. When islands and forests are clear cut, most of the birds and animals die from lack of habitat: food and shelter. Photos have been made of such areas where cockatoos are perched on dirt moving and tree felling equipment because there are no trees left standing!

    Instead of bashing those of us who are trying to make sure parrots survive on the planet, maybe you might do some real good by taking action to protect habitat. And while you are at it, you might do some good by making sure free roaming and feral cats are REMOVED from our environment in order to protect our native species from extinction. Then again, one of the problems of habitat loss is the expansion of human population around the world. So, you might help make sure more people are able to access birth control! Lots to do IF you really care about birds!

    • Alicia
      January 5, 2015

      “To assume that parrots think like humans is beyond stupid” – what does that mean? That they are less intelligent? That they shouldn’t have any rights? That you and other breeders like yourself have the right to keep them imprisoned in cages all their lives? And of course we DO know how they feel, we know damn well how they feel – they feel depressed, they feel frustrated, they feel miserable, they even pull out their feathers to show us how they feel! You and other breeders like you are not making sure that “parrots survive on the planet” – you are making sure that you make money out of their misery!!! that’s what you are doing! And yes, I do not buy products with palm oil, I donate to conservation efforts and do my bit for the environment. I am sick to death of breeders who claim they are “conservationists”. Except for the really few real conservationists, If they weren’t making money out of it, they wouldn’t do it!! And that is the truth of the matter. Real conservationists would not make money out of a parrot’s misery, sadness, boredom and frustration while imprisoned in a cage to make money for greedy humans who refuse to see the harm they’re doing to these highly intelligent and sensitive creatures.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      January 5, 2015

      Laurella, what’s stupid is you saying that I’m applying human feelings onto parrots, yet you over and over and over and over again say that your birds are happy. I don’t know on what you’re basing your assumptions, but I’m basing mine on several. First, even modern zoos—of which most are just as exploitive as aviculture—no longer house their animals in cages just big enough to perhaps trot across in a few steps. They give them large enclosures that have some sort of design to mimic a wild habitat. They also provide all kinds of enrichment, and not just clumps of palm fruit or the like. They do this because they know that keeping animals in cages is harmful to the emotional well-being of their charges, something that is sorely lacking in aviculture. I also base my assertions on the captive population as a whole, and the incidence of feather plucking, self-mutilation, obsessive compulsive disorders, and other problems affecting their physical and mental well-being. There’s just too many of these birds to consider captivity a good thing for parrots. Whatever the reason, be it captivity itself or human beings at fault, it doesn’t matter. There are just too many of them suffering to say that on a general level, captivity works for parrots.

      As for the Gracias. It is laughable to defend them on any level, and even more so to assert that a whole group of people got together and agreed to frame the Gracias on such an in-depth level. If, as you say they had such beautiful flights and a wonderful facility, let’s see the evidence. Where’s your evidence for that assertion?

      As for what I do, you don’t know how much I do, what I do, and you have no business telling me how I should or shouldn’t help parrots. You do not get to decide for me or anyone else how to spend their time helping parrots. One way I help parrots is by educating people on the dismal conditions in which you and your fellow aviculturists keep their parrots. And honestly Laurella, you help me do that every time you post something online.

    • Tamara Whitman
      January 5, 2015

      I don’t care if that photo came from “John Smith’s ” facility…it shows what horrible filth and neglect and even abuse that the parent birds must endure.

    • Natalie Harper
      January 6, 2015

      It really is true you breeders will say anything to excuse the evil you do

    • leeann broad
      January 18, 2015

      Yes, you are correct Laurella, we don’t know what a parrot is thinking. Precisely why we should not assume they can’t think. Your species attitude and profoundly engrained indoctrination of human dominance over animals would take serious
      deprogramming to even begin to give you an understanding of your ignorance. Yes it is horrifying what is happening to wildlife in general around the world as the New York Times reported that we have lost 50 percent of our wildlife in the last 40 years. By being vegan, we still of course impact the environment by simply existing. No vegan would deny that. However, by having a plant based diet we impact the environment far far less. Do your research on animal agriculture vs plant agriculture. Yes, you are correct that Palm oil, used in just about every product, is responsible for the deforestation of our precious rain forests. So If you cared about birds as you say, you would join the fight against this horrific exploitation of the rain forests alongside vegans and non vegans alike. You would seriously consider a plant based diet. Boycott any product that contains palm oil. Stop complaining and instead use your voice to make a difference instead of pretending you are an altruistic person who supports breeding birds to save them. In realty, you support indiscriminate breeding of birds for personal profit no different than the palm oil corporations who destroy the Rain forests for greed as well.

      • Ellen Kessler
        January 22, 2016

        Bravo, Leann! I can’t thank you enough for your post.

    • Sandy M
      October 18, 2016

      Couldn’t agree more. Very well, spoken

      • Ellen Kessler
        October 18, 2016

        You’re right; it wasn’t the Gracias’ facility. There was MORE filth at their facility than what’s shown in this photo.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        October 18, 2016

        I thought that was from the Gracias. How sad that we’ve seen so much of this, it becomes difficult to distinguish which hell is associated with which breeder.

  3. Tony Silva
    January 5, 2015

    In your typical fashion, you are making claims without knowing the facts. You are assuming the Yellow-shouldered Amazon has been in the same environment for 25 years. You are wrong– his history has been described in several articles. If you are so concerned about birds, visit the jungles of SE Asia or Africa or Latin America and see what the birds are experiencing: rapidly vanishing habitats, with areas the size of some US states being cleared in a single project. And you know, some of the foods you eat– soybeans and palm oil in its various forms are contained in a myriad of foods– are largely to blame for this erasing of jungles. Many birds vanish as the bulldozers move in and destroy everything in their path, or while the jungle is being burned to facilitate the clearing. And while you´re at it, do not use plastics or energy, as all that also destroys bird´s habitats– look at the jungles in eastern Ecuador or Equatorial Guinea or Nigeria where petroleum is being extracted. Petroleum and its distillates, if you are not aware, are used in plastics, fertilizers and to produce the energy you use to spew your vitriol against breeders. So stop using your double standards and spend some time truly understanding what is going on around you! And while you´re at it, perhaps you should look at yourself in the mirror and explain why you take birds to a veterinarian who is also a breeder. Why patronize the people you so hate?

    • Shari Mirojnick
      January 5, 2015

      Tony, I amended the post to state the facts, but really, how many parrots do spend decades in an enclosure just like that—or worse? The point is that no one, no human or nonhuman should have to spend their lives in that kind of environment for any length of time.

      Like I told Laurella, you don’t get to decide for other people the ways in which they help parrots. How self-centered you are to think that you are the Knight in Shining Armor because you have visited parrots in their natural habitats. It’s sickening to hear over and over aviculturists slamming people who do rescue, and not recognize that as true help for very needy parrots. I can’t go visiting parrots in far-away places, because I have special-needs parrots who take all my time and money. I can only wish to go, and live vicariously through others who are so fortunate.

      “In your typical fashion,” and that of most aviculturists, you bring up some illogical either/or arguments to make yourselves holier-than-thou. As human beings in the modern world, we all leave a footprint. Holding those who believe parrots shouldn’t be in the pet trade to a higher standard just shows that you really have no argument to defend your own behavior. You’re saying that because we all leave some kind of footprint, then it’s okay to just do what you want. Or that because I leave a footprint, breeding parrots for the pet trade is okay for you to do. Well, like I said, we all leave a footprint, but how big that footprint is is up to us.

      As for the veterinarian, I’m assuming you’re talking about the two times I saw Dr. Clubb with my new rescues through the bird club. Those were my first two times and my last two times. Although I think that’s another obfuscation, I’ll still address it. Because breeders don’t take care of their birds, it’s up to people like me to spend all their time and money cleaning up your fellow aviculturists’ messes. I was against using Clubb as the club’s vet—and I still am—but I’m only one vote. I still consider Clubb to be a breeder who happens to also be a vet, and I regret going to her. My mistake, but my rescue has been seen by another vet already. At the same time, I still have to what’s best for the animals in my charge, and sometimes your options are limited. But, it’s really a silly argument. Parrots are here, and they still need toys, caging, food, and medical care, regardless of who I “hate.”

    • Tamara Whitman
      January 5, 2015

      Did you and Laurella cut and paste from the same article? Your wording is pretty similar…just saying…

    • Natalie Harper
      January 6, 2015

      NOW EVERYONE KNOWS THIS EVIL BREEDER AN THE WAY HE TWISTS THE TURTH AN ATTACK ANTI BREEDERS PERSONALLY JUST EVIL SO EVIL

    • cybirdsong14
      February 20, 2015

      most of the breeders i observe in my region are certainly not breeding the ‘exotic’ endangered birds. They are busy hand raising for example, our local budgerigars, lorikeets and cockatiels. Not a lot of conservation going on there considering the general wild populations around and above us. It’s just tax free pocket money for the breeders coughed up from totally inexperienced young people and their mates for their amusement. These wonderfully social animals are condemned to the tenuous resources and whims of their new owners. Throw in a cheap little cage and a few toys and she’ll be right mate just don’t forget to feed it
      .

  4. Ellen Kessler
    January 5, 2015

    Ah Laurella and Tony, you are such easy targets with your ridiculous and “parroting” comments. Once again claiming to be conservationists, while you sit in front of your cash register or on the computer being armchair conservationists.

    Tony, yes, you’ve been out there in the field, but I won’t ever forget about (nor will many others) your smuggling career, where you nearly wiped out 10 percent of the hyacinth macaw population. And we won’t even talk about tax evasion.

    And Laurella is always quick to blame anything she disagrees with on the “animal rights radicals.” Have you thought for even a moment that it is YOU who are the radical, the one behind the times? Maybe if for a second you started thinking of these poor birds as living, sentient beings, you might show a glimmer of passion for them. And what are you doing to prevent the destruction of the rain forests? Have you changed your diet so you’re not consuming the very products you’re on your high horse about?

    So Tony, being the compassionate person you claim to be, have you eliminated palm oil from your diet to show your support of all the animals (and displaced humans) who are slaughtered all in the name of some food additive? Do you even read the labels of the processed food you eat? Probably everything you’re putting into your yap has caused the horrific deaths of numerous animals, birds included. Wait. Not probably. Definitely.

    • Laurella Desborough
      January 6, 2015

      Curious. I have never stated or implied I am a conservationist. I have raised and donated thousands of dollars to conservation projects…but that doesn’t make me a conservationist, just a supporter of conservation. I focus on facts and rely on science in my comments, whether about parrots, aviculture, or retail rescue. Take note that when real conservationists speak…I listen. For instance, Dr. Ulysses Seal of the IUCN has made it clear that two critical methods are needed for saving species: conservation in the wild and captive breeding.

      In regard to parrot keeping, what makes you think I keep my parrots in small cages? Frankly, even small flights would not work for eclectus parrots! It is a good idea not to assume that those who operate aviaries and who have spent years doing so, would not be providing large flights for their parrots.

      Now lets just talk about all those breeders making a fortune keeping and breeding parrots or other birds. There are perhaps a few individuals who work with a lot of small parrot species like cockatiels, budgies, conures, maybe a few African greys, and they make enough to make a very modest living. However, the vast majority of bird breeders only make enough money from raising birds to supplement their regular income acquired from other sources.

      For instance, if I had to rely on the income from raising parrots, I would be homeless! That is because I don’t raise a lot of birds, and I do maintain a whole bunch of re-homes and retired birds….just as most breeders do. Those re-homes and retired birds get the same food and vetting as the breeding birds and young singles do. Providing appropriate diets and appropriate vet care does cost money and because I have a decent retirement, I have sufficient income to provide for all my parrots.

      Many small breeders raising birds happen to like birds and keep and breed them for that reason. Since they do not want to keep all the young produced, they will sell some. That is why we have a saying: You want to be a millionaire bird breeder? Start with five million. This accusation that breeding birds is about making money is simply another b.s. animal rights propaganda piece.

      Ellen, I cannot speak for Tony Silva here, but I think before you accuse him of anything, you ought to stick to FACTS and the facts do not support your statements.

      And to accuse me of NOT considering my birds as thinking feeling beings is beyond ludicrous. You don’t know how I think about my birds or anything about what I do with my birds. You ASSUME that I consider them as objects. I doubt any of these “let the birds fly free” individuals have spent the time, energy and effort that I and other breeders have spent in studying parrots, in working to make their lives better, and working to save them in the wild.

      When the animal rights radicals put their time and money behind saving species in the wild and educating themselves about what is really needed to make sure species do not go extinct, then I will be happy to change my opinion about their goals and their interest in the welfare of parrots. Until then, I will continue to observe that their efforts are mainly devoted to spreading hatred towards breeders and to eventually eliminating the rights of individuals to keep and breed birds. The ultimate goal is to eliminate birds from our lives. I don’t think that ultimate goal is one that is embraced by most pet bird owners.

      The animal rights cult followers wear the mask of “animal protection and welfare” but it disguises their hatred for their fellow humans. All you have to do is read the writing of those who consistently attack bird breeders to see the hatred. IF the real goal was to improve the condition of birds, the whole approach to bird breeders would be quite different. I rest my case.

      • Natalie Harper
        January 6, 2015

        THE EXCUSES,THE LIES THE BULLSHIT THAT DIBBLES FROM THE MOUTH OF THESE EVIL GREEDY BREEDERS IS UNREAL AN I THINK MOST REALLY BELIVE WHAT THEY SAY WOW SOME DO KNOW IT THEIR HEARTS IT SO GREEDY SO SELFISH TO BREED BIRDS TO LIVE THEIR LIFE IN CAGES ,YOU EVIL PEOPLE ARE THE REASON THERE IS SO MANY RESCUSES NEEDED

      • Jim Harmon
        January 6, 2015

        Laurella Desborough, that was one of the best, well thought out statements I have read on this subject. I appreciate your contributions, insight and expertise.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        January 6, 2015

        Sorry Laurella, but you can’t say you have proof of something by taking it out of context. Your statement regarding Dr. Seal isn’t correct. You wrote, “Dr. Ulysses Seal of the IUCN has made it clear that two critical methods are needed for saving species: conservation in the wild and captive breeding.” Yes, for some species captive breeding is necessary, but it’s not breeding for the pet trade. It’s captive breeding with a goal expressed by biologists and the like, to have an end-result of eventual release. John Q. Public’s living room is not a part of the equation.

        I think I made it clear to you that keeping parrots even in the larger flights is still unacceptable. It’s unacceptable for other wild animals living in enclosures too small for them, and the same goes for parrots.

        Maybe some people think there’s big money in breeding, and that would certainly be a good subject for another post; however, that’s not my point. There’s more to greed than just money. You all pat yourselves on the back and tout all you think you do that’s good. You give each other awards and celebrate yourselves every year at AFA conventions. You all covet the rare and obscure, like some kind of stamp collection. Laurella, you couldn’t give enough money to conservation to negate all the harm you do to individual parrots.

        As for changing your opinion of animal rights proponents, there’s no need. You may disagree with them; however, the people out in the field doing the conservation all know that breeding for the pet trade is not any kind of conservation, and promoting such things is the antithesis to conservation. Disagreeing with animal rights advocates on this issue is also a disagreement with the science.

      • Ellen Kessler
        January 6, 2015

        You sound like a broken record, Laurella. Blaming everything you disagree with on AR activists. I happen to believe they are 100% right. Please tell us it’s true that you are “resting your case.”

      • Shari Mirojnick
        January 7, 2015

        Yes, Laurella, you do consider yourself a conservationist. You imply it by paraphrasing Dr. Seal to suit your purpose. You claim, wrongly, that Seal says there needs to be captive breeding as part of the conservation effort. The way you interpret his comment, that by captive breeding he means by people like you, you are calling yourself a conservationist. And just to drive this point home, captive breeding as part of the conservation effort is not breeding for the pet trade. It’s taking individual parrots, breeding them in captivity with the intent for release, not someone’s living room.

    • Valeria Morich
      February 20, 2015

      WELL SAID!

  5. Keira Devine
    January 5, 2015

    Great article! Parrots (and all other sentient beings ) aren’t ours to enslave and sell! Until every cage is empty non humans will not have justice

  6. S. Bianco
    January 5, 2015

    Excellent article. Great analogy. Several sad and self-serving comments.

    I’m a biologist who has lived alongside wild macaws and other parrots in Latin America, and with 3-5 parrots in my US home. (The parrots who live with me are rescues.) Thus, I’m well educated and have direct experience of parrot biology and natural history both in the wild and in a human home.

    Yes, the parrots in my home seem happy, loving and healthy. No, this is not where they belong. The sheer joy and exuberance expressed by wild parrots is not replicated in the best homes, and much less in managed breeding situations. To defend captivity and breeding shows a serious lack of education and experience.

    It’s about the money. Seeing baby birds hatch, grow, and develop feathers is fascinating. But, it isn’t compassionate or ethical. It’s about the money. It’s about the perverse human desire to own nature and manipulate it to serve human interests. It’s about ownership of wild beings.

    Pointing out flaws in this photo or that sentence doesn’t negate the thesis Mirojnick develops in this article. That is defensive behavior.

    I am working to share Mirojnick’s views so that people will no longer be comfortable with the facile reasoning used to justify parrot captivity and breeding.

    • Laurella Desborough
      January 6, 2015

      S. Bianco, I don’t know who you are, but I can tell that you have swallowed the animal rights credo completely. To say that breeding birds in captivity is about the money is the biggest bit of nonsense I have ever seen. I know too many people who love and breed birds, from parrots to pheasants, who do not spend their many daily hours of work with the birds in order to make money. Money is viewed as needed for the food and housing and vet bills, but not in terms of making money for profit. Thankfully, the lower and middle classes can now enjoy living with birds, an activity that only the wealthy or upper classes were able to enjoy.

      How dare you accuse the hundreds of decent responsible animal owners of being greedy and lacking compassion or ethics! The only excuse I can see is that you are very ignorant about what motivates people to keep birds. Or you simply believe the animal rights b.s. about bird breeders. I guess you have no knowledge of the work of bird breeders to assist conservationists in the field. Maybe do a little research on it.

      Being a biologist does not confer any special insight into other humans and their activities, NOR does it confer special insight into the lives and feelings of parrots or other creatures. Having been friends with some notable field biologists, I am well aware that your opinion about bird breeders is simply that…your opinion, which is not necessarily shared by others except those who also buy into the animal rights agenda. Some of those AR-oriented biologists have even published direct lies regarding statements made by aviculturists. I have those published papers and the actual references made to other published material to which they make reference. It is always a shame when a scientist lowers himself or herself to use lies to promote an agenda. Some would say it is a serious lack of professionalism and ethics!

      Every human on this planet is causing problems for wildlife, whether the creatures are IN the wild, or in our homes. The one major factor predicting the demise of many wild creatures is the expanding human population. Unless and until that issue is completely addressed, we will continue to see the loss of species. South America is a great example, with the jungle being cleared to grow soy, create cattle farms, and remove mineral deposits. So, I hope that IF you care so much about parrots, you are working on that problem, because it dwarfs every issue related to parrots in captivity.

      • Shari Mirojnick
        January 7, 2015

        Laurella, I don’t care what the reasons are for people to breed parrots, but only that it isn’t in the best interest of parrots. People may breed parrots because they love them, but that isn’t a moral or ethical reason to keep these beings in cages for years and years, stealing their babies, and giving them nothing but four “walls,” some food and water, and a nest box. This is exactly how we house prisoners. One room, a bed, a toilet, and three square meals. How do you condone this? You have defended Howard Voren’s set up, where you can see plain as day that those birds are in very small enclosures with no enrichment whatsoever. In fact, you commended him for the enclosures being clean. So, again, if you love parrots, how is it that you think it’s ethical to keep breeder parrots in confines that rival prisons?

    • cybirdsong14
      February 3, 2016

      well said!

  7. Bird Bird
    January 7, 2015

    Breeding for profit is wrong. Parrots belong in the skies not cages. Period.
    I’m glad that the animal rights movement (or as the opposing side labels it “The extremists”) is gaining strength amongst the younger crowds – replacing old, unethical views.
    I’m so sick of cleaning up the mess Breeders leave behind. Birds left in on the side of the road with the trash, denied needed vet care, starved to death because a child lost interest, trying to find homes for naked, unstable, aggressive birds aka wild animals going nuts because they’re wild animals… I could go on and on.
    I like the one debate I got into with one breeder, it ended with “Well I’m old, I’m almost done.” Me-me-me. I-I-I. That’s all it is and it’s wrong. Call it an opinion, I call it ethics.
    People need to start looking for the best interest if birds as a whole, and it’s not continuing to pop them out only to be subjected to our needs and out demands.
    Adopt only, promote eco-tourism, and stop stealing chicks from their parents only so they’ll hurry up and produce more. Ugh… Monsters.

  8. cheranepefley
    February 13, 2015

    Sheri, What vet do you use mention in Tony ‘s comment?

    • Shari Mirojnick
      February 13, 2015

      You’ve got to be kidding, Cherane. I’m certainly not going to tell you who I’m using, because I don’t trust you not to harass them. You harassing my old boss, who had nothing to do with my online commentary was way out of line.

    • Ellen Kessler
      February 13, 2015

      None of your effing business, Cherane. Leave ShAri alone and go back under your rock.

  9. Valeria Morich
    February 20, 2015

    This has been a great reading. Nice tho see how many opposes captive breeding and know that captive breeding is nothing to do with conservation of the species, only ego and greed! Continue with your work Shari, as will change the face of the aviculture!

  10. Mauee
    January 22, 2016

    I count 3 of you opposing captive breeding. Same old same old. Don’t all of you have parrots in your keeping? and reproducing is in the best interest of all species.

    • Shari Mirojnick
      January 22, 2016

      I am against captive breeding for the pet trade. In no way does this “save” a species. How do you save a gene pool when you breed for mutation, hybridize, or just put two parrots together without regard to genetics?

      Pointing out that people like me share my life with parrots is a red herring. When I was asked to take in a parrot for a friend of a friend (asked because they knew me to be an animal lover) I said yes. Although I knew nothing about parrots (which is how many people start out), I felt bad that the bird, Fred needed a home. Over time, and the more I worked with parrots, I began to realize that keeping parrots as pets is wrong. It’s good for us, but not for them. The parrots in my home have physical deformities, medical conditions like seizures, chronic illnesses, and the like. The parrots who are in captivity, especially those with special-needs need to have homes. I don’t espouse not rescuing parrots who are alive and in captivity, I espouse the end of breeding for the pet trade.

    • Ellen Kessler
      January 22, 2016

      There’s a lot more than three of us who oppose captive breeding. There’s THOUSANDS. OR MORE. I’ve read that a million birds are added to the marketplace every year from breeders, such as the recently deceased Howard Voren. And how many of those end up in shelters or are released to the urban streets when they’re no longer wanted? Or are too much trouble? Or bite? Or scream? Or don’t match the décor? Or the best excuse of all–I’m-having-a-baby-and-can’t-keep-the-bird syndrome.

      Sanctuaries are full. They are beyond full. This is not even close to being an anecdotal comment. I have worked for one of the largest sanctuaries in the United States and they need funds to construct new buildings to house all the birds on the waiting list. Once you open your eyes, you KNOW that it has to stop.

      Reproducing is in the best interest of all species? There are now what? Seven point five billion people on the earth? And everyone of them has a carbon footprint that is destroying the earth. Yeah, scientists are coming up with “Band-Aid” approaches to temporarily fix the problem. But in the long run, the only solution is to STOP BREEDING. All animals–including the virus killing the earth called homo sapiens.

  11. Gayle
    January 26, 2016
    • Shari Mirojnick
      January 26, 2016

      I’m posting your comment with the link to the video, because it is clear you just don’t get it. Like I said in another comment, it must be willful ignorance. Yes, caring for parrots has come a long way over the past 100 years–like it says in the video–but it doesn’t change parrots from wild animals to domesticated companion animals. The enclosures shown in video cannot compare to 20-square miles. Flying parrots on weekends doesn’t make up for the miles and miles they fly daily in the forest. And hybridizing them–being the endangered species they are–is detrimental to the survival of their species.

      Putting them in larger cages–still cages–is in no way “thoughtful,” or “deeply respectful.” Respecting nature is to leave it alone. This is just a propaganda tactic by The American Federation of Aviculture, which is not a charitable organization. Rather, it is a trade organization to protect and lobby for the aviculturist (breeder) and aviculture.

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This entry was posted on January 4, 2015 by and tagged , , , , , , , .