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Posted 1 June 2004
Under the influence of a powerful Green Party group on its local council, the prosperous Italian town of Reggio Emilia, near Bologna, has introduced a remarkable animal rights bye-law.
Measures include an outright ban on boiling lobsters alive, an effective ban on hunting with dogs and the establishment of a new council office devoted to the protection of 'urban fauna', with a full-time worker to look after stray cats.
The new law will also prevent amusement park owners from giving away goldfish, chicks and rabbits as prizes. Pet shop owners must ensure that animals are only displayed in windows for limited periods, that all coops and hutches have non-slip surfaces and that animals are sheltered from the elements.
Most controversial of all, however, is a restriction that threatens the town's status as Italy's unofficial bird-breeding capital. The new bye-law compels breeders to provide cages at least five times the bird's wingspan and three times its height - far larger than the standard size employed during the town's bird festival, in which 12,000 captive birds are on display. Reggio Emilia has a human population of 120,000.
The new law means that birds on sale at the Reggio Emilia bird festival will have far larger cages than currently used, unlike the birds on sale at the UK's largest bird market (for example, the parrot above pictured at last year's event). Please join us in the campaign to Ban the Bird Market.