Animal Aid

Bird market on the run

Posted 1 June 2004
Young parrot taken from nest for export. Photo credit: EIA

The UK's largest wild bird market is now scheduled to take place in December 2004 at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire. After 25 years of holding this market at Birmingham's NEC, the organisers have been forced to look elsewhere.

A major joint investigation of the wild bird trade, conducted by the Environmental Investigation Agency, RSPCA and the RSPB, demonstrated that for every bird who survived the brutal capture and transportation process, a further three would have died. This means that hundreds of thousands of birds were snatched from their natural habitat for this one bird market alone, with three-quarters of them dying en route.

Exotic birds are either captured in flight by nets, trapped in baited cages or stuck to the branches of trees with sticky 'bird lime'. They may then spend weeks being transported between dealers and months waiting in a cage before being shipped by air to their country of destination. Fifty percent die between capture and transport. After habitat destruction, collection of birds for the pet trade is the biggest factor in species decline.

Sadly their plight does not improve once they reach the bird market. Here they are often kept in cages that are overcrowded or too small. Small groups of parrots are seen huddled together - obviously petrified by their experience. Wild-caught birds are especially frightened of humans and will view people as predators. They will feel trapped, vulnerable and terrified at these events.

Scarlet macaws. Photo credit: EIA

These one-day bird fairs also breach the Pet Animals Act, 1951, which prohibits the carrying on of a business of selling pet animals in a public place. If Warwick District Council allows this event at Stoneleigh Park to take place they will have failed in their duty to uphold the law.

Please write to the Council and remind them of their legal responsibility to prohibit this event. See the sample letter in the action alerts section. Please also collect signatures for our petition from friends, family and work colleagues and return completed forms to us.

Together, we can stop this cruel market and crack down on the illegal wildlife trade.

  • Our recently published report on the 2003 event - From Jungle to Jumble - recommends that Solihull MBC commence prosecutions for violations of the Pet Animals Act.

  • For more information, and to find out what else you can do to help with this campaign, see the Ban the Bird Market index.

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