Sometimes it’s hard to tell in this business. I think some of the heroes are the people who train and educate about training. Susan Friedman is a hero. Barbara Heidenreich is a hero. Robin Shewokis is a hero for spreading the message about enrichment and foraging.
Susan Friedman is a hero for educating the field about the science of applied behavior analysis and getting people to understand why positive reinforcement works.
Then there are the people who do research. There are heroes in that line too. Irene Pepperberg is a hero. Ross Perry is a hero. The Hagen Company does extensive research on diet and I love the work that they do.
Companies who sell crap people don’t need, to people who don’t know any better are villains. Companies that put mite control devices in Wal Mart that can actually kill birds and sell those same people a pant-load of grit during the same shopping trip are villains.
Big Box Pet stores who can’t seem to find a way to educate their associates well enough to ensure that they have the correct answers to questions they are asked are big-time villains. And I want to eliminate quite a few items in their product lines as well.
Companies who sell training tapes that have “secrets the professionals don’t want you to know” to people who don’t have the first clue on training basics are villains.
I was at a bird store I know and love. They were selling round cages. I asked why. I was told that they sold them because people wanted them and if people were going to buy them “come hell or high water,” then they might as well make the money.
Well, this bothered me enormously. I love this store to death but that’s simply irresponsible. They aren’t villains, but they pissed me off with this particular move.
The world has been able to remove or discontinue many items from the market, including Phen-fen, Phisohex, the Ford Pinto and other various products deemed unsafe for consumption or use. Why can’t round cages go the way of the dinosaur?
I wish some bird food companies would knock it off and at least attempt to educate their consumers that an all-seed diet really blows. Couldn’t they branch out and come up with another product that doesn’t harm the very consumer they are feeding? Couldn’t they at least educate their customers?
I wish breeders with facilities the size of the state of Oklahoma would figure out that random breeding isn’t doing a damned thing to help the pet bird situation and leave that to the people who actually know what they are doing.
It’s big business. And I’m just one little person.
June 21, 2011 at 11:17 am
I’m not sure anyone could top this, but my favorite “pet store” story of all time involved a salesgirl telliing a prospective buyer that a Moluccan was the “immature” version of a Greenwing in the next cage, and that when the Moluccan “grew up,” he’d have feathers just like the Greenwing. I was real tempted to say something, but decided it was better to go find the store manager and suggest, in a nice way, that he train his staff and they read some bird books. They even had a copy of Forshaw’s book in the store! If you don’t know the answer….. don’t make one up! These poor customers had never owned a bird from the sound of the conversation and had NO clue what they were getting into. ARGHHH!
June 23, 2011 at 3:29 pm
I’m new to Parrot Nation and am enjoying it so much. Have you ever read a book that was SO GOOD you never wanted it to end? Well, that’s how I feel about your blogs. I know that another “chapter” is coming. Thank you for all you do to help these magnificent creatures.
June 24, 2011 at 3:34 pm
You have just listed most of my complaints about pet stores. I have tried leaving printed instructions for the education of clerks in these stores, but they don’t want them. It would cut down on the junk they want to sell. It’s very frustrating.
July 10, 2011 at 10:17 am
Just wanted to say thanks for the extremely kind words : )
July 10, 2011 at 10:55 am
Just being honest Barbara. I’ve sent scads of people to your website because you offer the help and training they need. You have a good product and you offer sound training with the education and experience to back it up. It’s easy to promote something I believe in. But on the other hand, it’s difficult to dissuade people from something that has no value. I hate doing it, but sometimes I simply have to.