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European Union Approves a Temporary Ban on Exotic Bird Imports

Published 10/31/05

On October 25, the European Union veterinary experts approved a one-month EU wide ban on the import of exotic birds after an imported South American parrot died while in British quarantine of the virulent H5N1 strain of bird flu that has killed over 60 people in Asia.

While the trade in wild animals carries the well-known risk of transporting communicable zoonotic diseases and parasites that can endanger native wildlife populations and human health, it also raises serious animal welfare and conservation concerns.

The initial shock of losing their freedom and being confined to a cage can kill 10-20% of wild-caught birds. Of those who survive capture, half will die of starvation, dehydration, suffocation, or disease before reaching international markets. Not only is this trade cruel, for most threatened parrots it is the primary cause of dramatic declines in populations. According to Pro Wildlife, a German advocacy organization, the EU imports 1.76 million birds destined as “pets” each year.

API applauds the EU for taking positive action as a result of the bird flu tragedy and urges the EU to make the ban permanent thereby helping to end the cruel and destructive trade in wild birds.

API also thanks our members who have responded to our action alerts over the years to encourage EU officials to take this important step to protect exotic birds.

Your help is still needed.

While Europe accounts for approximately 87% of the international trade in wild birds, the domestic trade within the birds’ countries of origin such as Indonesia is also rampant.

Please urge the government of Indonesia to follow the European Union’s example.

Find out more about the global trade in wild birds by visiting API’s More Beautiful Wild campaign site at http://www.morebeautifulwild.com/a2_conservation.php.

For more information, please contact Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Coordinator for the Animal Protection Institute at 916-447-3085 x210 or by email at monica@api4animals.org.

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