I returned from the AFA Conference in Raleigh-Durham last week and I haven’t posted about it yet because I had to hit the ground running. And my brain hurts. My thoughts on the conference will take several installments because there is so much involved. I won’t be talking much about the speakers and their agendas, but if you want to see the “Who’s Who” and who spoke about what, you can always go to their website and in a few months you can purchase a DVD of their presentation.
What I am choosing to write about instead is more about the AFA itself; who they are, what they do and the issues they deal with.
I am a member of the American Federation of Aviculture. And there are several reasons. But one of the main reasons is that I would like to see the AFA get more involved in adoption and rescue. While individual members do a lot of it, I don’t see it being promoted much on their website and the inclusion of that is something I was interested in seeing. I’ve had discussions with people about this and I will be posting more about this very issue in more posts about the AFA.
There are some inherent issues that make common ground for the AFA and adoption organizations a rather sticky wicket. It’s the issue of “6 Degrees of Separation.” Many adoption organizations tend to be a tad opinionated about breeding. And that is an issue because the AFA was founded 39 years ago as a reaction to an event in California in March of 1974.
The AFA was begun by Avicuturists. That’s who founded it:
The American Federation of Aviculture (AFA) is a nonprofit national organization established in 1974, whose purpose is to represent all aspects of aviculture and to educate the public about keeping and breeding birds in captivity.
AFA has a membership consisting of bird breeders, pet bird owners, avian veterinarians, pet/bird store owners, bird product manufacturers, and other people interested in the future of aviculture.
AFA defines anyone keeping exotic birds in captivity as an “aviculturist” but AFA advocates that this designation carries with it certain responsibilities transcending those of the owners of domesticated pets like dogs and cats.
AFA believes holders of exotic birds need to be aware of the special needs of the species they hold, be aware of their conservation status, up-to-date research findings enhancing the well-being of the birds, and the state and federal regulations pertaining to exotic birds.
The AFA is trying to represent all of Aviculture. And that’s an ambitious undertaking because there are so many facets of it that it’s difficult to encompass all of them. They do a wonderful job for the most part considering what they are up against.
Just as in the world of food, you have omnivores, vegans, pescatarians, vegetarians, lacto-ovo vegetarians, raw foodists, people who only eat sustainable and organic, people who eat only gluten-free food; well, you see what I mean. You’re never going to get the militant vegans on the same page as Anthony Bourdain. It’s just never going to happen. It has now gotten to the point where deciding what to have for dinner has become a political issue.
It’s the same at the AFA. You have conservationists, pet breeders, retailers, wholesalers, equipment manufacturers, researchers, people who breed for conservation and people active in enacting or changing legislation. Thats just for starters.
It’s kind of an issue getting everyone pulling in the same direction when there are so many special interests involved. But they try. They want to represent all of the factions in the world of Aviculture.
This is always going to be the mountain that the AFA is going to have to climb every day and I admire their efforts.
The AFA has taught me so much. But what I have learned more than anything is how much I simply didn’t know or didn’t understand. They have opened my eyes to so many issues I go home with my head spinning and many times in a state of confusion.
Lisa Bono of the Platinum Parrot
It’s never going to be simple. Never.
What I have stated is just an opener to the problems the AFA faces every day. What I didn’t know before this past week is about the animal rights groups trying to make things difficult for everyone who has a companion animal, is not a vegan and wears shoes made of leather. And they will use every sneaky and dishonest tactic to do it. They aren’t simply honest and say, “We disapprove of anyone using an animal for anything.” Nope. The use diversionary tactics and employ out-of-date video to convince people that things that went on decades ago are currently occurring. This would would be akin to showing photos of the slaves in the south before the civil war and claiming that it is currently happening in this country.
The legislative issues the AFA faces with laws being passed without regard to the individual’s right to have a companion animal stymied me. “What? Are you kidding?” This led me down the proverbial rabbit hole as the AFA tends to do.
Aviculture has its hard-line militants on both sides of the coin. There are breeders who feel that what the adoption and rescue organizations are doing is the same as them because some adoption organizations charge a fee for the adoption.
Flip the coin and you have the adoption organizations who feel that they are being put in the position of cleaning up a mess breeders have left in their wake. I don’t know enough of the situation to understand it completely, but I keep trying.
I have heard talk that more and more breeders are getting out of the business and due to that, bird babies are becoming a scarcity. In turn, the adoption organizations feel that this is just fine.
I also heard that dogs are being imported into this country from other parts of the world. I don’t understand why, as there is a huge cost involved in importing anything. It was explained to me that the majority of the dogs in the local shelters are the big, black dogs nobody wants and they are bringing in the cute little fluffy dogs to place in homes. Is this true? I don’t know if this is true because I’ve never read it on the Internet. And as we all know, if you read it on the Internet….but then, I’ve never dated a French model.
But kidding aside, I had never heard of this practice before aside from bringing dogs that had become pets to soldiers in Iraq back to be with those soldiers who had “adopted” them. But my source was excellent and I have to believe it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg the AFA is facing.
Now how can this be remedied? The AFA thinks their members need to become more active in the making of the laws of this country. If they can increase their membership and teach their members how to become more active politically, many of these issues can be addressed. But how can they increase their membership? My thought is to try and get more adoption organizations. But that sticky wicket of agreement and disagreement rears its massive head again and they are back to square one.
The AFA Conference is a fun and yet draining experience for me because it forces me to think about uncomfortable things.
There is an issue with some legislation passing that requires a vet check on a budgerigar within two weeks of the sale date. This is a problem for the retailer because if the budgie doesn’t get sold within two weeks, they have to be health-checked again to keep the budgie a “sellable” bird. And that costs money. Multiply that by every bird the retailer has and you are talking about a lot of money.
Moi with a very rare Great Billed Parrot.
Well, why is this a problem? Why can’t they just wait until someone wants the budgie and then they can make the appointment for the vet check? Well, I suppose it’s because it would decrease impulse sales. A person simply can’t go into a store, select a budgie, buy a cage, some pellets and a book on their care and take it home.
Okay, so where’s the problem with that? If the customer is refused the immediate purchase, they may not come back after the impulse has waned. And there goes the sale of the budgie, the cage, the food, the book and future purchases of food, toys and other needs.
Okay, so why is this a problem? Well, because the retailer has a business, a home, a car and a family to take care of. That’s the problem. So, do they allow the bill to pass and require that budgie to be health-checked by a vet, possibly interfering with the sale and potentially putting yet another family out of business, into foreclosure and on the unemployment line resulting in more weight for the government to bear? Or do they just let the budgie get sold which keeps the family in their home, keeps their business going and the family fed? Don’t ask me, I have no idea.
This is a simple way of explaining one of the issues currently being faced by the AFA. And I sure as hell don’t have the answers.
After that, I’m back down the damned rabbit hole. And it’s times like this when I feel I chose the wrong colored pill.
The AFA forces me to think about things I don’t want to think about. They open my eyes to issues I didn’t even know existed. I don’t like thinking about some of them or even knowing about them at times. But it makes me a more educated person. And it certainly makes me more cognizant of the bigger picture in Aviculture. It isn’t just the Breeders vs Adoption Organizations. There’s a lot more involved and it isn’t that simple. It’s a Gordian Knot of issues and many of them overlap.
If you come to the next AFA Conference in Portland, Oregon, be prepared to get your boots shaken a bit. It is a learning and growing experience you won’t forget.
August 23, 2013 at 10:00 am
Patricia, I really hope to have you come out to Seattle Parrot Expo this October. I know Brandon will be there with Parrot Earth, but like you described in your eloquent writing here about AFA, I think you’d represent yet another fascinating aspect of aviculture people need to learn more about. That of working out on the internet all of these differences and incorporating them. You are a wonderful writer and this entire entry spoke straight to my heart in that we need organizations like AFA to continue and encompass and so often because only one facet of an organization does not gel right, the entire organizations is classified as bad or negative. Do you think you could bring Parrot Nation out here in October to be an Exhibitor, talk to parrot lovers but also talk to and inspire children to learn this encompassing need? After all, you have fun marketing things kids would buy up!
August 26, 2013 at 1:14 pm
I echo Debbie’s invitation-it would be wonderful to have Patricia at the Seattle Parrot Expo. I am essentially attending as myself, and not a representative of my rescue, as they have the same trepidation as other rescues here have voiced about whether they are welcomed. However, the Friedman seminar is a real treat that I look forward to (maybe some of her techniques work on husbands too??) LOL
August 23, 2013 at 10:20 am
Lisa Bono is having problems posting her comments so I am doing it for her:
Lisa A Bono-nee Joosten: “I tried to post on the blog, but it would not let me sign in. It is very important for us to know what is going on. After the disaster of Superstorm Sandy and the NJ coastline, I found the AFA had so many facets to the organization. They cared and were willing to help whatever stranger they could in our area with birds. With that said, I joined as an individual member(my club had been a member since the early 90′s) to show my support back.
We need a united front to help us keep our rights intact as NJ, RI and CT bird owners can attest to.”
August 23, 2013 at 10:22 am
I can corroborate that more and more bird breeders are getting out of the breeding business, Patricia. Recently, I was shopping for a Hyacinth baby and every private breeder I talked to was selling their breeders. One prominent private breeder told me this is happening all over the country and soon it will be impossible to purchase a Hyacinth Macaw, period. He sited various reasons, the primary one being that it is so much more lucrative to sell these birds overseas where they can fetch up to $60-80K per bird, as compared to around $10K in the U.S. Therefore many breeders were cashing in on selling their breeders to foreigners. I finally had to go to a very large bird retailer to find a Hyacinth baby – they are indeed rare right now.
August 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm
This is not a problem just for parrot people. Pet shops specializing in exotic mammals and reptiles can import almost anything and sell almost anything, often without *any* waiting period to check if they have a disease. State laws vary widely, with Wisconsin, Nevada, Alabama, Ohio, West Virginia, and North and South Carolina having *no restrictions,* meaning they allow private, unregulated ownership of tigers and primates.
August 23, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Hi Patricia! Hope things are less hectic for you now. I didn’t realize AFA was for parrot owners, not just breeders and rescues. Maybe it would help if people like me (who only “own” one bird) would join. Don’t know how much political clout we could wield. Let’s try to keep the love of the animals as our driving principle. I think everyone could agree on that.
Now, dammit, what is that parrot with the red beak? My best guess is Costa Rican “green parrot”. Caption your photos, Patricia!
August 23, 2013 at 12:44 pm
Duly noted and captioned. It’s a Thick Billed Parrot.
August 23, 2013 at 2:37 pm
Great-billed Parrot 🙂
A neat bird, and not very common!
August 23, 2013 at 2:41 pm
Sorry…I’m wrong again. My apologies.
August 23, 2013 at 12:49 pm
Hot topics and you did a great job covering them. Thank you for caring enough to inquire about all of aviculture and continually ask questions. Reality really is harsh, but our birds are well worth our every effort.
August 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm
Patricia, I am a long-time AFA member, and I am a long-time bird breeder and pet owner too. I am constantly educating myself and then passing on what I learn to others via articles and mentoring. That’s what you do when you are passionate about aviculture or any other animal endeavor!
It is frustrating, depressing, and angering to see the attacks on aviculture (and other exotics) by the “animal rights” anti-pet extremists. I cannot believe these people are sane members of society, though undoubtedly many are very intelligent and able to communicate their beliefs, even with misinformation, disinformation, and downright lying!
What is of most concern is that there are groups of these anti-pet “true believers” that are doing their utmost to destroy pet ownership and the human/animal bond in this country. I will fight that attack against an important part of our society to my dying breath.
A good book that talks about the importance of animals in our lives is “The Animal Connection” by anthropologist Pat Shipman. A BAD book is “The Bond”, a pure propaganda piece by Wayne Pacelle, who wouldn’t know how to emotionally bond with an animal (and it shows in his actions and con-man words).
August 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm
Thanks for information, Marcella. I appreciate any good sources.
August 23, 2013 at 3:00 pm
Another reference book you might find useful in your research is “The Hijacking of the Humane Movement: Animal Extremism” by Patti and Rod Strand. It was written over a decade ago, but it’s historical perspective on a benevolent movement taken over by exremists is still relevant. It is available on Amazon
August 23, 2013 at 3:52 pm
Genny, your contribution is so appreciated. Genny worked with me so diligently getting me to understand some issues facing all of us. And she did it without once rolling her eyes. And for that I am forever grateful.
August 23, 2013 at 3:48 pm
I really enjoyed reading your blog about AFA and look forward to your future segments,
As someone who has been a member and involved with AFA for many years, I think you did a great job of explaining a lot of the problems and conflicts in Aviculture and other parts of the animal world that most people do not realize are happening. IMO–Making people think about all of the situations is one of the biggest aspects of being part of AFA and/or attending a AFA Convention.
I hope many of your readers will consider attending the 2014 AFA Convention in Portland, Oregon and learn more of what AFA is really all about. There will always be differences in opinions, but that does not mean we can’t work together.
Thanks Again for another great article that made me open my mind to other ways of thinking as well.
August 23, 2013 at 4:11 pm
Great article! Please post more about this important issue. I would also urge more folks like me who have birds, but who are not breeders or rescuers to check out the AFA. It is important to understand some of the legislation that is being proposed that would affect our rights to even have pets.
August 23, 2013 at 7:02 pm
Great opening article Patricia! My first attendance to the 2004 Miami Convention, I came home with information overload! I felt like I was plugged in to the mainframe and attempted to absorb every morsel of info offered.l The biggest part of AFA is the preservation of our rights to own and keep “exotic” birds. They were put on this earth for their beauty and we are trying to save many now on the endangered list and for the Future of them even in our reach to enjoy. Thanks for spreading the word!
August 23, 2013 at 8:37 pm
Patricia: I agree that everyone in aviculture needs to work together. I have many friends who are breeders and as you know many friends who are involved in rescue. More times than not, I have asked for help from breeders who all went the extra mile to help me get birds out of situations where rescues turned me down flat. The problem from my perspective is the need for both sides to police themselves.
We all know that there are bad rescues out there, but there are people who refuse to police them and close them down because “after all, they are a rescue and we need to support them”. You and I both know of rescues who have been shut down and birds taken by the authorities because of the disaster they had become.
On the other side, we all know of bad breeders but there are people who refuse to police them and close them down because “after all, they are a breeder and we need to support them”. Again, we have seen then shut down and the birds taken by the authorities because of the disaster they had become.
In both scenarios, I have approached people who I believed to be reasonable and basically discussed the issue only to be blown off and even accused of being a “nazi” in one instance.
Until good rescues and good breeders step up to the plate and police, educate and get rid of the bad rescues and the bad breeders, you will always see the friction. It is not an easy thing to deal with. JMHO
August 23, 2013 at 8:46 pm
Bonnie: I agree with your last paragraph, BUT until both sides stop listening to the propaganda from the anti-breeder AR-true believer groups that pit one against the other, it’s not going to change. Most breeders I know will help place birds. If they can’t take them (for biosecurity reason, usually), they’ll refer on. But when breeders in general are trashed by rescue verbal attacks, there is no trust at all. Many of the more visible rescue “businesses” shout for no more breeding, and that’s the animal rights propaganda speaking, not social reality. That also makes breeders reluctant to work with rescue groups, understandably.
August 24, 2013 at 12:43 am
Marcella: There are many out here that feel the same as I do. I tend not to be very supportive of anti breeding rescues. I agree that the birds they tend to take in should not USUALLY be given to breeders for their programs as they are mostly pets and as such probably would not be good breeders. However, there are some birds that probably should go into breeding situations because they are not good pets.
And, to be honest, I have seen verbal attacks on rescues by breeders so it goes both ways. I am one of the many who are frustrated by being caught in the middle, trying to support good rescues while also trying to support good breeders and chastized by both sides.
I do know of rescues who do work with breeders, quietly (both the breeders and rescues say nothing for fear of being hammered). In those cases, I see the better educational programs and a mutual trust. To bad you have breeders and rescues alike who do not think it can work without even giving it a chance.
Patricia is on the forefront of this and she and I have talked about it. It is going to take reasonable people from both sides who are not afraid to speak up.
August 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm
With all due respect, I think adoption organizations can and do think for themselves. I do not believe they are a mouth piece for “other” organizations.
I also think the “don’t shop, adopt” mentality is in any way an attack on breeders.
Who attacks who and more frequently? I have no idea as it is not something I have the time to sit back and referee but I have seen plenty of nastiness on both sides of the coin.
I believe in regulations and standards of care with parrots. You have seen them with dogs and cats for a long time now but because parrots are considered poultry, they have slipped through the cracks.
Do I think all legislation is good? Or course not! But I do believe there has to be a way to hold breeders, adoption organizations and even pet owners accountable when they do not provide for their basic needs.
CLEAN water, FRESH food, adequate caging, toys, foraging and stimulation.
I have been to many large scale parrot breeding facilities and I have yet to see any type of stimulation, just a nest boy, a dowel and a couple birds. I am sure this is not true of every breeder but many would agree that is not a good standard of care.
As far as animal rights nuts..Hmm I do not know if I am defined as that or not. I have pets. I believe in the right to have pets. I also believe in the responsibility to keep them healthy and happy. It is a very slippery slope when you try to define such words.
In fairness though most breeders lump me in as a “nut” the moment they hear I work with an adoption organization.
With all that said. I believe the AFA respects breeders and their interests and that is fine..there is plenty of room for different mindsets.
August 24, 2013 at 3:41 pm
Sorry that should have been represents and not respects
August 24, 2013 at 4:06 pm
Please remember that the AFA is primarily about education. Just as Adoption Organizations do not “Police” each other, the AFA is not in a position to police their members.
I don’t think of you as a “nut” just because you have standards. But the AFA does represent the Adoption Organizations. I have entered into LONG conversations with different leaders with the AFA about this issue.
Truth is, they really didn’t realize people didn’t understand that. Now they do. And things are changing. And it’s all for the better. Hang in there Lorry! I’m working to make the voices of the adoption organizations louder at the AFA!
August 24, 2013 at 4:32 pm
Your opinion is that they do Patricia but the adoption organizations do not feel that way.
They have plenty of breeders speak but never heard of an Adoption Org being offered to speak.
And when I was speaking of standards of care..I am speaking of some of the legislation they block not about them policing their members.
I have no dog in this race..just things to think about..I believe they do not support Adoption services and it is lip service and always will be..That is fine though…Breeders and those looking out for their interests have a right to have a place to call home but the two agendas do collide because most Adoption people believe and push for legislation on standards of care..the very ones that the AFA often blocks or tries to
August 24, 2013 at 11:12 pm
There’s as much propaganda coming from corporate front groups who pretend to care about animals but actually want a world with no environmental or animal care standards. A lot of those groups (who you promote on your facebook page) are funded by companies that have records of being behind environmental atrocities and human rights abuses, not to mention serious animal cruelty. There are extremists on both sides.
People also need to stop acting like there’s nothing wrong at all with certain aspects of American aviculture. Personally I’m not 100% against breeding birds, but there are good reasons some people don’t like seeing flighted, intelligent animals kept in plain cages, mass produced, and sold to chain pet stores. Everything isn’t golden everywhere in the world of aviculture but people have been so whipped up into an anti animal rights hysteria by CCF and NAIA and the like that any discussion about bettering the way people treat birds devolves into a bunch of repetitive stuff about animal rights people wanting to end all animal use. Given that Americans eat more meat and animal products than ever, that’s not happening soon. The way Americans eat is not even remotely sustainable, but nobody cares.
Perhaps people should maybe consider WHY people might be against certain avicultural practices. Sometimes, people do things to and with animals that truly are questionable.
August 25, 2013 at 1:16 pm
From what I can tell, what you call corporate front groups are no different, but at the other end of the spectrum, from the corporate animal rights groups. All spin to suit their own agenda.
August 25, 2013 at 3:34 pm
Yes, the extremists on both sides can be similar. Why, however, condemn one and refuse to even question the other? The anti-animal rights groups support practices that are horrible for people, animals, and our environment. Yet, because they are run by people who are masters at marketing, people fall for what they say. The result? No one can discuss bettering our treatment of animals without people becoming hysterical about animal rights people ending all animal use. Never mind that that’s no where near close to happening.
I am not an abolitionist and don’t support extreme animal rights groups but the anti-animal rights groups are behind some very vile practices. Yet people who say they love animals promote those groups and their leaders, and the books they’ve written (I see that being done right here on this discussion board). It’s sad. No one wants to consider the proposition that maybe, just maybe, some avicultural practices aren’t good for birds, but the anti-animal rights people just shut down such discussions immediately by accusing people who want to see improvement of being animal rights fanatics.
August 24, 2013 at 2:24 am
Bonnie, I agree with all you’ve said. Cooperation is so much better *for the birds* than the us-vs-them attacks. From a breeder perspective, I think most of the time there has been strong reaction (rather than aggressive behavior) to attacks from rescue(s) who have been influenced, encouraged and egged on by the anti-aviculture crowd, such as AWC and their flunky A&SI–which BTW, has come out with the most offensive, one-sided anti-aviculture “policy paper” that I have ever read.
August 24, 2013 at 11:54 am
Actually, I am hated by AWC for the most part. I refuse to follow their agenda and hate what they have done to parrots. In fact, I know of a couple good rescues who were “disinvited” because they did not agree with the agenda. So each group, breeders and rescues have their extreamists. IMHO they are really in the minority and those of us who are willing to work together need to start taking over the stage.
August 24, 2013 at 5:53 am
Nice job Patricia! One of the goals of AFA is education and your comment hit the nail on the head. The eye opening factor is so very important. Being open to both sides of the story is crucial to moving forward. You have put forth a well thought out view of what the AFA has to offer. Thanks for your ongoing commitment to learning!
August 24, 2013 at 10:36 am
Patricia, In regard to the importation of dogs from other countries, this is indeed a very serious matter…and here is why. Some of these dogs are coming from countries where they have diseases which do not exist in the US and these dogs are bringing in these terrible diseases: one is screwworm and the other is a type of rabies not found in the US. Dogs are brought from the streets of Puerto Rico…(Save A Sato program) often brought in by private boat or plane and going around quarantine. One case of rabies from these dogs has occurred in the East. Why is this happening? Partly because some people “feel so righteous” for saving these dogs!!! For further information check out the archive resources of http://www.naiaonline.org , the National Animal Interest Alliance, which is a pro responsible animal ownership and uses. This is an organization which works diligently to alert the public about the animal rights agenda and which provides an internet means for individuals to communicate with their elected representatives. I volunteer for them as legislative assistant. And I do this to help protect the rights of bird owners and breeders! This is because the NAIA represents a greater membership number and thus can be of important help to all of us who keep birds or other animals. We need lots of numbers when it comes to responding to legislative issues, whether local, state or federal. The animal rights organizations are now seeking partnerships with state and federal “policing” officials. They are also seeking to create their own group of animal rights veterinarians, and a college to train people about animal welfare issues. Trouble is, their goal is NO ANIMAL USE. period. They know they cannot get there in one jump, so they are incrementally working to eliminate our ability to own, keep, breed or use ANY bird or animal!!! I have been working on regulation and legislation since 1984 and I have seen the power of the HSUS and the other orgs to continue to increase and to see the success of their propagandizing of the public about animal issues.
August 24, 2013 at 11:28 am
Patricia, I commend you highly for addressing the elephant in the room: adoption/rehoming issues and the AFA’s sometimes awkward dance around those issues.
The AFA often acts as a strong and valuable organization, but until it fully appreciates animal welfare concerns [not “animal rights”], it will appear to many to be a quaint (and hostile) anachronism.
The budgie legislation question seems ethically clear to me: the birds’ health overrides profit from selling the birds — not to mention the public’s health, as in the case of zoonotic diseases. To call oneself an aviculturalist yet not put parrots’ needs first makes no sense.
Your emphasis on the varied agendas of AFA members is very interesting and very important; it gives one hope. 🙂
August 24, 2013 at 11:37 am
Paula, I’m not familiar with the actual wording on the legislation requiring health certificates that’s been discussed, but aviculturists know that a simple visual exam is not very comprehensive insurance on most birds, as they hide health issues and mask symptoms. In order to be truly effective health-wise, a comprehensive blood panel needs to be run, as well as fecals. Now, that could be done on a sampling of a given population that doesn’t come into contact with other individual birds, and then a visual health certificate on any member of the group of birds cleared otherwise, but what about birds coming in and out? Those who think “there oughta be a law” often do not understand the intricacies of what they are demanding. So, doing something is better than doing nothing, even if the something is ineffective?
August 24, 2013 at 1:05 pm
The law that was passed in NH causes problems by making it too expensive to purchase a wonderful “starter” bird. The point about health is not the problem. We all want healthy birds (breeder, seller and buyer). The problem is that the requirements are costly and will increase the individualized price of each bird. For example, If a Budgie was to have 2 health certs in one month before it was sold to a family that bird would suddenly cost an additional $60 over the $20 normal price. Who is going to pay $80 for a normal budgie. The extra cost gets applied to the price of the animals. Take note that there is no additional profit either. Ultimately, no store will carry the smaller birds anymore because it will be too costly for the store owner as well as the consumer to purchase. How sad is that?
It gets worse. The law that was passed is about all birds, not just budgies. And all people attempting to “sell” or collect a fee for their bird include individual people (not just businesses) that need to adopt out their own pet bird or farm “bird.”
Here is the rub, the health certificate is actually worthless and only shows that the individual bird is visually healthy. As soon as the bird is put back in the cage with other birds or near them… the health cert is void. Doctors have verified this. In fact, it was Dr. Messenger who made that point loud and clear.
The law will be fought and over turned. The state vet himself stated that it was a mistake and has not set any type of protocol to carry it out. (Thank God).
August 24, 2013 at 8:52 pm
Stores ceasing to carry smaller birds is sad because…? If it’s inappropriate to sell, say, CAGs at national-chain pet stores, why is it legitimate to sell ‘tiels and budgies? Because they are “starter” birds? Too tired from spending much of the day learning from what is now the *only* parrot adoption/rehoming/sanctuary facility in central Illinois to argue about the term “starter” bird; perhaps someone else can pick up the gauntlet?
May I suggest that people give some serious thought to why the larger parrots deserve differential treatment than the smaller parrots. And here’s the thing: I don’t mean treatment that has to do with financial gain for humans. Food for thought.
August 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm
I fully understand the intricacies of avian CBCs, fecal and oral Gram stains, etc., and I fully appreciate the astounding costs of such. The legislation may have a hidden agenda, too (preventing another mass-market breeder psittacosis crisis, as in 2009?); I don’t know. Anything that results in budgies and other small “throwaway” parrots getting better medical care is good, in my opinion.
Emphasizing the necessity of avian vet care to the public is extremely important — most of us would agree on that, presumably? So doing even a token gesture of testing on birds to be sold does, at the *very* least, remind the public that veterinary care is crucial even for a $20 bird.
August 24, 2013 at 10:47 pm
Re: Paula’s comments on “starter birds.”
I actually don’t think people should get budgies just because they are “starter birds.” If the person doesn’t really want a budgie, then the budgie is going to be neglected once the person gets the type of bird that was really desired in the first place.
I actually do have problems with the way a lot of pet stores keep budgies: in small cages, on an all-seed diet. At least they are often kept in groups.
I’m not against people breeding and keeping budgies, as they can make nice, engaging pets. I would, however, like to see the average pet store care for them better. They live longer if given greens and other types of food along with their seed, and some room to fly.
I actually know a couple of hobbyists who breed a few budgies (but don’t sell to pet stores). I actually think it may not be a bad thing if people who want young budgies were encouraged to seek out careful hobby breeders. The ones I know charge more than pet stores do, but do handle and socialize the babies and make sure potential owners will care for their birds well. That takes work. A lot of shelters and rescues also have a lot of budgies because a lot of people don’t realize that budgies can end up in shelters and rescues. Most people just go to pet stores to buy budgies, but that’s rarely the best source for budgies (or cockatiels or finches and other small birds).
August 24, 2013 at 3:27 pm
I am curious Patricia. Do you ever see Adoption and Rehoming Organizations as speakers at these events?
August 24, 2013 at 3:58 pm
Actually, I spoke quite a bit about Florida Parrot Rescue and the work they were doing. When I talked about our “Chopalooza” and the money we raised , there was huge applause. I also brought up Phoenix Landing, and Best Friends. So yes, as a speaker, I was indeed talking about rescue and adoption organizations. Trust me, people got it. And they were receptive.
August 24, 2013 at 4:25 pm
But do that actually have Adoption Organizations speak at their conventions?
August 24, 2013 at 4:29 pm
If you submit a paper and it’s a quality paper, you can speak. Submit a paper and render your opinion. I cannot see why you could not give your opinion about the state of aviculture.The issue is, most people involved in adoption don’t realize their presence is welcomed at the AFA. So they don’t submit papers.
August 24, 2013 at 4:34 pm
So you are saying all of their speakers put in a paper in order to speak?
And that is how they become a speaker? and that is the reason no Adoption Organizations have spoken there?
August 24, 2013 at 4:31 pm
I’m planning on submitting one for next year about volunteer vacations at various adoption organizations.
August 24, 2013 at 4:36 pm
Yes. You submit a 250 word statement about what you want to speak about. Then based on that prospectus,they ask you to speak. I don’t know if anyone submitted papers about adoption. Could be they had no idea they could.
August 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm
Then I guess one of two things are happening..1 the adoption organizations are being denied or 2 they have no desire to speak at the AFA
August 24, 2013 at 4:59 pm
Or as I said, they didn’t know they “could” speak. I’ve known about the AFA for almost 10 years. I had no idea I could submit a paper and talk until last year.
August 24, 2013 at 5:28 pm
Yes, I suppose it is possible.
August 24, 2013 at 5:30 pm
If I didn’t know, then others didn’t. You didn’t know. So at least this is something that seems to be happening.
August 24, 2013 at 5:39 pm
I never bothered to ask.
I have interest in the AFA because I do not believe they support adoption organizations and legislation to provide a standard of care.
August 24, 2013 at 5:41 pm
Sorry trying to type from my phone that should be. I have no interest in the AFA so never bothered to ask
August 24, 2013 at 6:14 pm
Or they are afraid to speak up. The extremists in the “rescue” world will hammer them.
August 24, 2013 at 7:33 pm
I spoke about the importance of adoption in the program that I did at the convention this year. Adoption is common practice for us so I never really gave much thought to having a presentation dedicated to it. What kind of adoption presentation are you thinking about? It might be a great talk. Georgia Hayes is a regional director of AFA and the AFA Convention Speaker chair. She is also the long standing president of National Parrot Rescue and Preservation Foundation. They are one of AFA’s nationally affiliated organizations an have been for many years. http://www.afabirds.org/specialty.shtml
Come up with an idea for a presentation. Maybe something about how to form an adoption business? That takes great skill and organization. There are other parts of adoption that might spark interest too. Throw out some ideas. Adoption is a common practice and definitely part of bird ownership. I like the idea. I am interested in hearing more thoughts on it.
August 24, 2013 at 7:35 pm
Extremists are an extreme pain in the butt and are everywhere and involved in every topic… ugh…
Thank God there are rational and practical folks too.
August 24, 2013 at 5:44 pm
I’m curious…does Florida Parrot Rescue provide a “Standard of Care” on their website? Because I’m not aware of it. And if they do, I wasn’t aware of it. I think it’s a wonderful idea to include that!
August 26, 2013 at 5:58 am
Adoption Business Concetta? I do not know of any Adoption businesses. I do know many reputable 501s that help birds. Who save lives every day and take in birds that sometimes cost thousands of dollars to save.
I however do not know of a business since the term suggests making money and I do not really know of an Adoption Organization with money to burn.
Someone could however speak about how to make a successful 501 work with compassionate practices.
I have no desire to be a part of the AFA until they start supporting standards of care and pushing for humane practices in Aviculture though.
Patricia, no they don’t. We do however discuss the standards of care with the people adopting..Proper cage size, toys, proper food, foraging, stimulation, out time, proper perches in a variety of shapes and sizes etc.
There have been standards to keeping dogs and cats for years and that is how puppy mills get closed down but none with parrots and the AFA would like to keep it that way..At the very least they do not fight for a standards of care.
As far as FL Parrot Rescue..I am a volunteer with Florida Parrot Rescue but I do not speak for them here. I am speaking for myself and my feelings
August 26, 2013 at 9:17 am
Hi Lorry, please excuse my poor choice of wording. I said “business” because that is a suggested way to run a non-profit organization (but knowing full well that there would be minimal to no profit) in order to keep from having to shut down. It is a survival tactic of how to stay organized and keep things functioning.
By the way… You have inspired a great presentation!!!!
I will ask Jean Jordan who has an impressive 501 (c) (3) organization if she could do a presentation. Jean would be ideal because she is involved with all facets of aviculture and has been up against all kinds of odds.
Lyrae Perry gave a presentation a few years ago that covered how to keep records and stay organized while maintaining proper husbandry and over all care for the birds. I find that there is quite a bit extra involved when it comes to adoption but that might be my own personal standards.
As for legislation, the AFA Legislative VP is a lawyer and the AFA second VP is a Lobbyist and while some of us hate politics we have no choice to but to stay alert about legislation. Like everything in life some legislation is fantastic and some not (ex: Obamacare…ugh). AFA is most definitely not against all legislation – that would not make sense. If that is what you were told – no wonder why you have no interest in AFA; that would be crazy.
As for husbandry practices, nutrition, enrichment, cage/enclosure, first aid and conservation… You will be pleased to know that AFA specifically covers these topics at conferences, on the web-site (still a work in process because it was re-done) and local presentations. Here are some common names that you might know that are AFA members: Robin Shewokis (international Enrichment Specialist), Barbara Heidenreich (training & behavior), Lara Joseph (training), Jamie Whittaker (behavior), Rick Jordan (husbandry), Dr. Gregg Burkett (husbandry, first aid), Dr. Susan Clubb (first aid), Me (ultimate cage challenge), Jason Crean (nutrition), Patricia Sund (chop), Linda Rubin (physical standards)…there are more but I just wanted to highlight some of the topics that you mentioned.
AFA is an educational organization. AFA doesn’t not police anyone (although policing is very tempting at times but if that were allowed it would only end up being a short term quick fix). It was deemed long ago to set the standard for others to work toward and helping them along their climb will sink in better and ultimately best for longevity. I am willing to bet that you would really like the FOA courses (Fundamentals of Aviculture). They are full of the exact things you brought up. I feel bad that somewhere along the way you were left with an ill impression of AFA. Hopefully that will change. And if not, thank you for caring enough to converse about it. And for the record, I adopted out 5 birds recently (medium to large). Adoption is a very important part of aviculture and I take it very seriously (don’t know of anyone in my network that doesn’t). Thank you for inspiring an idea.
August 26, 2013 at 9:44 am
Concetta…Until the start Lobbying for standards of care so the proper agencies can police the “bad apples”
Then they will not have my support or many of those I speak to.
The bottom line is the AFA is bleeding members and I always hear the same reasons..Anti Government, Anti legislation (for standard of care), quick to knock anyone down in their group emails if they have any view other than their own.
The bottom line is..Profit, large scale breeders and adoption Organizations really do not have a common agenda.
My dream as a grunt volunteer is to find birds home, to see the many bird mills in Southern FL and all over the country held to a standard of care just as those for dogs are held accountable.
I do not have the same agenda as the AFA so joining it is a pointless endeavor.
August 24, 2013 at 5:55 pm
Lorry, the biggest problem with “standard of care” is that one size definitely does not fit all, and most legislative bodies like to put all the pegs (no matter their shape) in the same round hole, so to speak. You can give general standards, like “enough room to move around and flap their wings”, and adequate food for that species, sufficient clean water, etc., but that information is out there for those who are committed to aviculture, whether as breeders, pet owners, conservationists, or re-homers (I’m not fond of the word rescue, as I think in far too many cases, re-homing is what is being done.) What muddies the water are the *loud* extremist views that animals shouldn’t be owned, bred, used, etc., no matter that that view is a minority view.
AFA offers avian certification programs that teach about the different species, general avian husbandry, etc. There is no reason why non-breeders couldn’t take these classes, as they are very rich in information. As AFA grows with the times, I think including courses on re-homing issues could be included, and that’s where other organizations can fit in. I also hesitate to say “adoption”, because I think of human children when I think of adoption–maybe it’s my generation, as I know that current jargon also uses that term for animals. So long as we understand that adoption with human children makes the adult their guardian, not their owner, whereas adoption for animals makes the adult their owner (or caretaker, depending on how a contract is written).
August 24, 2013 at 8:57 pm
The AFA Fundamentals of Aviculture are indeed rich in information. I am glad I took the two courses but the pro-profit bias in several “chapters” was astonishing. Respecting copyright laws and also the writers of the chapters, I cannot quote any of it anywhere, and that’s fine. Let’s just say I learned a great deal on many levels, and will not renew my AFA dues.
August 26, 2013 at 6:04 am
Marcella, there are standards of care for puppies and other s..this is what has allowed the bad apples and puppies mills to get closed down.
Breeders do not want standards of care because they do not want to be held accountant
The difference between having the standards of care written down is that they can be enforced. The breeding operations I have been to would make a puppy mill blush..One plain wooden dowel, a nest box, a chicken wire care and no other stimulation at all. I could go on but you get my point.
I could not complain to have the place looked in to because parrots are poultry with no standard of care.
The AFA fights against ALL legislation which is not in the interest of those who truly care for the welfare of the animals
August 26, 2013 at 9:08 am
>>The AFA fights against ALL legislation which is not in the interest of those who truly care for the welfare of the animal<<
H$U$ and AWC could have said these words. EXACTLY the kind of broad brush vilification and attempt to undermine an animal-related organization that they use towards any animal organization. AFA, AKC, and others like them do NOT have policing powers, nor should they, IMO. EDUCATION is what will change things, no more legislation that attempts to *punish* animal owners and organizations for breeding, etc. There will ALWAYS be a few bad apples–that's human nature–look at all the people we have in prisons. I am certain that those wealthy anti-breeder NPOs would just LOVE to have the policing powers that the RSPCA does. And look what's happening with the RSPCA–major abuse of power because of the agenda of leadership.
August 26, 2013 at 9:28 am
No, they just seek to block any and all legislation..even if it is to provide basic standards of care and that is why many of us will not support the AFA
August 24, 2013 at 9:11 pm
Paula, it’s interesting how we each take away different things sometimes. I took both FOA courses and I don’t remember anything in either course that discusses profit or even that discusses the business of birds. In all honesty if you are in the bird business you are more likely to profit if your birds are healthy and happy. Isn’t that what we all want for our birds?
I can’t think of 1 circumstance where the bottom line is improved by poor care of birds.
August 24, 2013 at 10:40 pm
As regards re-homing. This practice has been in place LONG before any so-called rescue organizations ever formed! What happened was that zoos, veterinarians and bird clubs or bird breeders would be called and asked to take a bird or birds that an owner could not longer care for…for all the same reasons we already know, from allergies to cockatoos, to losing a job and home, to getting a divorce, to moving out of the country. And, many bird breeders would assist these bird owners in finding a new home for their birds. I know this because I participated in the process of re-homing everything from finches to cockatoos to hand reared starlings! Today I am often asked to take in a pet eclectus parrot or two, from individuals who are losing their home, to a man getting a kidney transplant, to bird breeders getting old and quitting. This is something many bird breeders do and have done for years. We don’t call it rescue, we call it re-homing, because that is exactly what it is. When we take in these pets, we find new homes for them. They are certainly not breeding material so we are not inclined to want to keep them, unless they are in poor condition, such as a severely feather picked bird. Then that bird joins our other singles as a permanent lodger at our facility. Re-homing has always been a practice with companion animals, whether birds or dogs or cats, etc.
August 25, 2013 at 12:08 am
Wild birds in their native habitats don’t live Disney lives: the ones that aren’t killed as prey are being displaced by development and are starving… unless they can quickly adapt to the change. Many are able to do so, and survive. This innate survival skill works in their favor when they’re rehomed in captive situations.
How many of you are still in the home where you were raised? Why is it so awful when pets – particularly those with long life expectancies, like parrots – go to new homes, especially when that new home is an improvement over their old one? Lives are not stagnant, not ours, not theirs; however, few would choose to have no life, rather than an imperfect one.
August 29, 2013 at 6:42 pm
Really good point. Excellent comment…
August 25, 2013 at 9:08 pm
There is a difference between rescue and surrender. An actual owner giving up their birds due to a life situation is a surrender. Birds being left in bulk trash in a cage by an owner who forecloses on a home is called a rescue (and yes two happened in one month here). Both end up in a rehoming situation.
I am part of a rehome/rescue/adoption/ education organization for exotic birds – we have to do better than Congress and reach across the aisles to help each other — putting all feelings aside for the well being of the birds.
The more finger pointing and blame going on the less we focus on the real problems – legislation to effectuate change that can mutually help everyone ..
It is not only about birds, it is about every animal that roams this earth that we as humans were tasked to take care of by God.
Now I shall step down from my pedestal and pray for change
August 25, 2013 at 10:07 pm
I really don’t understand why Rescue/Sanctuaries/ Rehoming groups do not feel welcome or included in AFA. There are lots of members of AFA that are involved in these types of groups, including Regional Directors, State Coordinators, Club Delegates and many individual members. Many of the affiliated clubs and organizations have re-homing programs advertised right on their websites.
There will always be differences in opinions on many subjects, but working for a future
with birds should be a goal for everyone. AFA is an educational organization with so many different facets involved, surely everyone can either teach by sharing experience or learn something from others.
August 26, 2013 at 3:48 pm
I agree Julie and have taken their Fundamental Classes (both courses) – I have learned much from it – that which does not apply to me in the long run I read and file away – but like everything else things change at the speed of light and I know these courses take months or years in preparation so some breakthru’s happen before they are published …
I know many a rescue/sanctuary that has benefited from these courses along with the ones offered by PIJAC.
Wish there were more organizations that ran these on line classes.
August 26, 2013 at 3:52 pm
Oh by the way – Rescues/sanctuaries are businesses – they are incorporated as Not for Profits in the state of residence In Florida it is called. Florida Department of State Division of Incorporation — we have to renew our incorporation documents every year and there are standards in which we must operate within to remain incorporated.
Anyone who thinks a 5013C is not a business (corporation) is sadly mistaken and needs to do their homework.
August 26, 2013 at 4:18 pm
Good point Squawk. One of the things that has always concerned me about many rescues is that most don’t seem to have a plan for the future. They may have a will and plan to give money to someone to continue, but that’s not the same as having a business plan that ensures the future of the organization.