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For Immediate Release: 01/04/06

National Bird Day a Challenge to “Think Outside the Cage”

While avian flu dominates the news, people come together to urge change and action for the welfare of all birds

Sacramento, CA — The Animal Protection Institute (www.api4animals.org) (API), in coordination with the Avian Welfare Coalition (www.avianwelfare.org) (AWC), calls on activists and bird lovers across the U.S. to take action on behalf of captive and wild birds January 5 — National Bird Day (NBD). NBD aims to educate consumers about the abuse of birds in the retail pet industry and the difficult reality of caring for birds as pets, as well as to expose the cruelty of the wild bird trade and the importance of keeping birds wild.

Participants will find the following materials at www.nationalbirdday.org:

  • FREE NBD posters: 2 artfully designed “Think Outside the Cage” posters that can be displayed in schools, libraries, community centers, pet stores that do not sell live animals, and anywhere people can enjoy them.
  • NEW exotic bird care handbooks: API, AWC and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals joined forces to publish Captive Exotic Bird Care: A Guide for Shelters. It will be distributed nationwide in February to shelters and rescue groups increasingly forced to care for unwanted and abused birds entering their facilities.
  • FREE copies of Wild at Heart, a 15-minute VHS video that examines the impact of the pet trade on exotic birds in captivity and in the wild

This celebration follows on the heels of API’s first-of-its-kind undercover investigation into the retail pet store industry, which exposed an alarming level of mistreatment of animals — particularly birds.

“We documented shocking neglect of birds in pet stores, from overcrowding and unsanitary housing to severe injury and illness,” says Monica Engebretson, Senior Program Coordinator at API. “People who can responsibly make a bird part of their lives should adopt one from a rescue, not from a store that views these highly intelligent animals as nothing more than a sale. The retail pet industry does not subsist on love — it subsists on money.”

“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, Avian Welfare Coalition President.

“We may appreciate the birds flying free outside our windows, but we need to examine how we treat the birds of other countries“, adds Engebretson. “While we have enacted laws to protect native 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.“

API, a national nonprofit animal advocacy organization, works to end animal cruelty and exploitation through legislation, litigation and public education. For more information visit 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.

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Contact:
Zibby Wilder, Animal Protection Institute (API), 916-267-7266

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