Animal Aid

Britain's largest bird market cancelled

Posted 20 October 2004
Young parrot. Capturing birds for the pet trade is the biggest factor in species decline apart from habitat destruction. Photo credit: EIA

Victory for campaigners as Royal Agricultural Society cancel event in response to protests

Animal Aid has today learned that Britain's largest exotic bird market, the National Cage & Aviary Birds Exhibition, has been pulled by the venue owners - the Royal Agricultural Society of England. The event, which was scheduled to take place at Stoneleigh Park on December 4 & 5, would have seen up to 100,000 birds - many brutally torn from the wild - up for sale.

Animal Aid has been campaigning vigorously against this cruel bird market, organised by IPC Media, for the past two years. Earlier this year, after 25 years at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, the event was moved to Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire without any explanation.

Parrots in export crates. The trade in wild birds is brutal. More wild birds die during trapping and transit than actually survive to reach the sale. Photo credit: EIA

Just last month, after pressure from Animal Aid and other animal protection organisations, Warwick District Council announced that the bird market would breach The Pet Animals, 1951, which prohibits the sale of pet animals in public places on welfare grounds. However, the council did not go so far to prohibit the event and left the final decision with the RASE.

In light of the council's legal advice, Animal Aid alerted the Charity Commission that the RASE - which is a registered charity - could be putting themselves at risk of prosecution if they allowed the event to go ahead. The Charity Commission contacted the RASE, informing them that "Although it is a matter for the Local Authority to determine whether they will issue licences to permit such shows... the trustees have a duty to insure their actions do not bring the Society into disrepute."

Parrots on sale at last year's event. These traumatised animals will never adapt to life in captivity. Many become unmanageable and are either cruelly treated or handed over from one keeper to another - a scenario all too common in a ruthless pet industry.

Says Animal Aid campaigner, Toni Vernelli:

"The RASE's decision to ban this controversial bird market is a huge step forward for animal welfare. We hope it signals the beginning of the end for the brutal exotic bird industry which is driving many species to the brink of extinction and causing untold suffering to hundreds of thousands of birds every year."

Notes to Editors

  • For more information contact Toni Vernelli on 01732 364546.

  • We have an ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.

  • For further background see our Ban the Bird market campaign index.

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