Action Alert

United States: Urge the USDA to Enact Strong Protections for Birds Under the Animal Welfare Act

This action is for US residents only.

The Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is our country’s primary animal protection law. Though flawed, as it creates only minimum standards for certain animals and its enforcement is frequently criticized for allowing inhumane practices to go unchecked, the law still provides critical protections. However, the AWA’s regulations have excluded birds — but that could change with your help.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is currently considering AWA regulations for birds not bred for research. For the first time, birds abused and neglected by commercial breeders, the entertainment industry, and roadside zoos — as well as wild birds captured for use in research — could receive important legal protections.

Every year, countless birds suffer in “bird mills,” bred to be sold into the pet trade. These birds are kept in tiny, squalid cages, unable to fly or engage in their natural behaviors. Denied any environmental enrichment or adequate socialization, these birds often experience lifelong psychological and physical illnesses.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is submitting written comments to the USDA urging it to enact strong protections for birds. Sign below by October 28th, and your name will be included as a signatory to our comments.

Summary of the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s Comments:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture should extend protections to all qualifying birds used for regulated activities under the Animal Welfare Act as well as set humane standards that promote birds’ well-being that allows them to engage in species-appropriate activities such as flight for birds that fly. Flying birds denied the ability to fly are more prone to illness, stress, and psychological distress. Birds should be provided environmental enrichment and the ability to engage in natural behaviors.


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