Animal Aid

NATIONAL CAMPAIGN LAUNCHED AGAINST GIANT WILD BIRD MARKET

Posted 9 September 2003
Sick parrot. Credit: Environmental Investigation Agency

National campaign group, Animal Aid, are calling for a licence to be revoked for Britain's largest exotic bird market, which it claims is illegal.

The event - licensed by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council - is scheduled to take place at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) on 6th and 7th December 2003. The licence will allow up to 100,000 birds to be sold at the National Cage & Aviary Birds Exhibition. At last year's event it was estimated that three-quarters of the birds on sale had been captured in the wild.

Under the Pet Animal Act as amended in 1983, the event is illegal as you cannot lawfully carry on a business of selling pet animals in a public place. Despite this legislation, Solihull MBC has chosen to license the event for years and so for bird dealers, it has been business as usual. The council has been presented with overwhelming scientific and veterinary opinion relating to insurmountable animal welfare problems and also potential public health hazards.

Animal Aid has launched its campaign amid growing concerns of depleting wild bird populations. It is a well documented fact that for every bird that survives to reach the point of sale, three others will have died during the brutal capture and transportation process. Birds are either captured in flight by nets, trapped in baited cages, or stuck to the branches of trees with sticky 'bird lime'. They may then spend weeks being passed between dealers and a further eight months at exporters' premises before being transported by air to their country of destination. Next to habitat destruction, collection for the pet trade is the second biggest factor in species decline.

Says Elaine Toland, Animal Aid's Senior Campaigner:

"Most birds who arrive at the event have already endured the most horrific ordeal. Unfortunately their nightmare is far from over. The noisy, crowded environment at the NEC is terrifying for the birds. The law is intended to protect animals from being traded in this type of environment and it is despicable that Solihull MBC cannot see their way to enforcing it."

Along with Solihull MBC, the licence holder, IPC, which publishes Cage & Aviary Birds magazine will be a focus of Animal Aid's campaign. In their leaflet, 'Watch What You Read', Animal Aid calls for a boycott of IPC magazines for their involvement in the wild bird trade.

Notes to Editors

  • For more information, call Andrew Tyler or Elaine Toland on 01732 364546.
  • We have an ISDN line for broadcast-quality interviews.
  • For further background, including video footage, see our NEC campaign index.

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