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For Immediate Release: 01/03/07

Mayor proclaims January 5th “National Bird Day”

New York, NY — New York mayor Michael Bloomberg has issued a proclamation identifying January 5th as “National Bird Day”, encouraging New Yorkers and citizens nationwide to conserve and protect the world’s birds from cruelty and extinction.

National Bird Day aims to educate consumers about the difficult reality of caring for birds as pets, the abuse of birds in the retail pet industry and wild bird trade, and the importance of protecting birds in the wild. National Bird Day is sponsored by the Animal Protection Institute (API), a national non-profit animal advocacy group, with the support of the Avian Welfare Coalition (AWC).

Madison, WI, St. Louis, MO, Port St. Lucie, FL, Sedona, AZ and Hawaii County, HI, have joined New York City by signing similar proclamations. In cities from Los Angeles, CA to Woodbury, NJ bird lovers are hosting fundraisers and art shows celebrating the beauty and wonder of birds. Free “Think Outside the Cage” posters and videos are available at www.nationalbirdday.org and an exotic bird care handbook, published by API, AWC, and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, has been distributed to shelters and rescue groups nationwide.

“We are very excited about the growing number of people signing on to celebrate the beauty of birds with us,” says Monica Engebretson, Program Director at the Animal Protection Institute. “We may appreciate the birds flying free outside our windows, but we need to examine how we treat birds in general.”

“Consumers must realize that exotic birds are not domestic animals. To confine them is to deprive them of the inherent behaviors that make them birds,” says Denise Kelly, President of the Avian Welfare Coalition.

In the next century, nearly 12 percent of the world’s 9,800 bird species may face extinction, including nearly one-third of the world’s 330 parrot species. For many of these species, the leading causes of population decline are habitat loss and collection for the pet trade.

Every year, millions of birds are captured from the wild or produced in captivity, only to lead miserable lives languishing in conditions that fail to meet their instinctive behavioral and physical needs. In addition exotic bird sanctuaries across the U.S. are overwhelmed with unwanted and abused captive birds in need of rescue and life-long care.

“While we have enacted laws to protect birds such as blue jays, cardinals and crows from commercial exploitation, we fail to recognize the inconsistency in allowing the pet industry to exploit the birds of other countries,” adds Engebretson.

The Animal Protection Institute is a national non-profit animal advocacy organization working to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation, and public education. More information is available at www.api4animals.org.

The Avian Welfare Coalition is a working alliance of veterinarians, conservationists, avian welfare and animal protection organizations dedicated to the ethical treatment of exotic birds. For more information about the AWC please visit www.avianwelfare.org.

Press-quality images of “Think Outside the Cage” poster artwork are available upon request; email press@api4animals.org.

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Contact:
Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute (API), 916-447-3085 x205

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