Abuse: Can We Take Action?
Today, while chatting with one of my students, I was left with an aftertaste of bitterness and sadness in the face of the reactions of people who are confronted with situations in which they believe they are unable to act. or reform.
Well yes, once again, the subject is back on the carpet… a mediocre pet store where the birds are very badly treated, almost abused.
I receive an impressive amount of letters of complaints regarding this or that pet store where parrots and other various birds are daily confronted with mistreatment through ignorance or commercialism, and each time I ask these people what means they have implemented to put an end to this mistreatment of the birds, I come up against the same sacrosanct response most of the time: “Nothing at all… I left without doing anything, but I was revolted.”
This kind of attitude on the part of enthusiasts are yet aware only confirms the owner of the pet store in his way of acting. Why would he change anything about it, since everything seems perfect? So… no one has anything to complain about. But now, there is much to be said and above all to be done …!
PIJAC ( Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council ) has created a continuing education program for its members in basic care and maintenance of pets, including exotic birds, and standards have been established by specialists. Nothing extraordinary, but still a good basis to ensure a minimum of comfort ( size of cage and food ), health, and understanding of the needs and behavior of species.
The information is therefore very available for all pet stores that are PIJAC members and, here in Quebec, almost all pet stores are PIJAC members. Ignorance is therefore no longer a pretext for the owner of the said pet store. It seems to me that if one wishes to “sell” an animal correctly, regardless of the species, the minimum would be at least to know the appropriate care for the species and to see that the young employees are minimally informed.
How many times have I seen pet shops entrust the weaning of baby parrots to teenagers employed part-time without any experience. How many times have I seen birds fed exclusively on seeds, low end moreover ( the bird should not be expensive to feed ), and this, regardless of the species or the size … Lorises fed on seeds, Amazons and African Grays fed on parakeet seeds, insectivores also fed on canary seeds.
How many times have I seen large parrots confined to small cages barely sufficient for a cockatiel; birds locked up in the back room because they suffered from severe pecking ( we hide them, it is not good for the image of the pet store ); birds without toys or distractions; cages so dirty, frankly unsanitary; small parakeets or finches crammed into very small cages not even having enough perches to serve them all; and again and again …
And you, how many times have you encountered this kind of situation when you pull out with your head down, your heart oppressed with that damn feeling of helplessness that follows you like a shadow and prevents you from sleeping at night…? Too many times, I know it!
What can we do?
You are the person who can do the most for these birds, you are the most powerful person inside this pet store. You are the customer, the one who pays the rent of the owner of the pet store, you know, him… this sordid dealer, him… who makes his money on the backs of these animals that you love so much! You are the customer and without a customer, this merchant is nothing at all! No customers, no nice cars or vacations. You hold the key, never minimize your importance.
If you are faced with this kind of situation, ask to speak to the owner or manager of the pet store and ( politely ) express your outrage at the treatment he is giving to the animals. If the latter sends you to the roses (it happens often) you can always add:
- There is a good chance that when entering the house, your first gesture will be to contact the SPA in your region.
- You will also add the name of his business to the list of pet stores to avoid at the next meeting of your Parrot Lover’s Club.
- You can also point out to him that you are a regular member of an Internet forum for parrot lovers with more than 3000 members …
These are the kinds of arguments that can sensitize the owner of the pet store in question. These people literally hate being threatened … their wallets and their comfort. So, that’s where you have to aim …
Never hesitate to file a complaint with your local SPA for negligence. I know, you will tell me that the SPAs do not know how to recognize a case of mistreatment in birds and have no legislation in this regard. That’s right, I grant you.
Are you also going to tell me that your complaint will not be taken into account? Equally true.
On the other hand, your complaint, combined with another and another and another and yet another, could cause these SPAs to begin to ask themselves serious questions and to take an interest in the subject.
Be insistent and call often to find out about the status of your complaint. Ask to speak to the manager or an inspector and offer to help if needed. Don’t be tearful or emotional, but state the facts clearly and logically. If your SPA cannot recognize the signs of a bird in distress, organize a small group of specialists or parrot enthusiasts privately or with the help of your Club and work out together at least the basics of needs and care. appropriate for the different species and submit them to your SPA.
Contact PIJAC Canada at 1-800-667-7452 and update them on what’s going on at this pet store ( who should be a member ) and ask what they can do to rectify the situation. Do not neglect to do it, this organism is surely the most powerful one on which one can act in the industry of companion animals.