Action Alert

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

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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.

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