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The wild bird trade may be one of the cruelest activities ever imposed upon innocent animals. The initial shock of losing their freedom and being confined to a cage can kill 10-20 percent of wild-caught birds. Of those who survive capture, half will die of starvation, dehydration, suffocation, or disease before export to large importing countries in Europe and Asia. Not only is this trade cruel, for most threatened parrots it is the primary cause of dramatic declines in populations. The parrot family has more globally threatened species than any other family of birds.
At least a million birds are imported into the European Union each year. With high mortality, hundreds of birds of different species traded, and a myriad of inconsistent and insufficient laws, it is impossible to track the exact numbers of birds that fall victim to the wild-bird trade.
In 1992 the U.S. Congress learned that the international pet trade in wild-caught birds contributes greatly to the decline of species in the wild, and that the trade produces an unacceptably high rate of mortality among imported animals. As a result, Congress passed the Wild Bird Conservation Act, which transformed the United States from the largest importer of wild-caught birds to one of the smallest. It is time the European Union followed our example by passing legislation to stop this cruel and destructive trade.
You Can Help!
The World Parrot Trust, an international bird conservation and welfare organization, is gathering support from the international community with a petition. The petition will be used to encourage the European Union to stop importing wild-caught birds. Sign the petition online at or contact Monica Engebretson at API (916) 447-3085 or
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