Appendix 1: Animal Welfare Issues and Their Influence on Legislation

Cockatiel feeding chicksArticle by:  Jeannine Miesle, M.A., M.Ed

Main Article: Hand-raised or Parent-raised: Which Is Better For The Birds? by Jeannine Miesle M.A., M.Ed.

Appendix I: Animal Welfare Issues and Their Influence on Legislation

Because of public pressure on legislators, animal welfare laws are being passed in some countries. The Netherlands has passed laws regarding the hand rearing of psittacines. These laws prohibit the separation of immature animals from their parents, include parrots. Reports have described the welfare problems that can be caused by the separation of young animals from their parents, detailed which species were currently at risk, and proposed criteria for preventing problems caused by such separation. Final legislation was passed in 2014. 4

The parent–chick separation law in the Netherlands is also likely to be enforced and should improve avian welfare by preventing hand-feeding by inexperienced owners and allowing proper socialization of psittacines, hopefully decreasing the behavioral problems often seen in these birds. Like the laws pertaining to animal cruelty, the bird-specific laws implemented to improve avian welfare will only be useful if they are enforced. Also, although these laws are meant to educate the public and improve avian welfare overall, such education is possible only if their availability is widely known. For the sake of improving avian welfare, it is worth the effort to discover what guidelines are available to help ensure at least minimally adequate husbandry for pet birds. 4

The sale of unweaned psittacines is an example of legislative issues regarding avian welfare. “Public pressure has resulted in laws addressing this practice in California and the Netherlands, but the matter has not been tackled in most jurisdictions. In Australia, some states allow the sale of unweaned birds (to knowledgeable buyers) and some do not. Whether or not bans on such sales become more common throughout other countries and states will depend on the politics of public pressure and industry resistance as played out on the worldwide scene.” 4