Exotic bird sanctuaries across the country are overwhelmed with hundreds of unwanted and abused birds in need of rescue and lifelong homes. Untold thousands more languish deprived and ignored in their cages because their caretakers have lost interest in them; some are released to fend for themselves — where most will perish.
Even when bred in captivity, exotic birds are not to be considered domesticated animals. They are the native species of other countries and all their inherent behavioral and physical needs remain intact. Sadly, deprivation of their natural behaviors (to fly and flock, for example) is an inescapable component of their captivity. Meanwhile, breeders and retailers across the United States continue to treat birds as merely merchandise, peddling them into the pet trade. And after buying a bird, the purchaser is rarely prepared for the potential problems (noise, biting, aggression, self-mutilation, mess, etc.), that may eventually lead to abusing, relinquishing, or even abandoning the bird.
The popularity of birds — whether captive-bred or wild-caught — as "pets" in the U.S. has enormous global influence, and fuels the trade in exotic birds around the world. The impact of the pet trade on wild parrot populations is devastating, with parrot species more globally threatened than almost any other major group of birds.
The More Beautiful Wild campaign will reduce the number wild-caught and captive-bred birds who are exploited in the international and domestic pet trade through:
Public education about the special needs of birds, the difficulties of keeping them in captivity, and the impact that the pet trade has had on these magnificent creatures.
Promotion of bird watching ecotours and related programs that help birds by providing local people with alternatives to cruel and destructive trapping, logging, and mining activities.
Legislation aimed at increasing legal protections for captive birds.
Advising consumers not to patronize retail stores that sell live birds and other animals.