Friday, May 31, 2013

New Policy Paper on Parrots as "Pets"

Animals and Socieity Institute have just realeased the newest edition of its policy paper series: PARROT BREEDING AND KEEPING: THE IMPACT OF CAPTURE AND CAPTIVITY. Written by myself and G.A.Bradshaw of the Kerulos Center.

The paper builds on my previous paper published in 2006 in the Journal of Animal Welfare "The Welfare and Suitablilty of Parrots as Companion Animals: A Review" and Gay's pioneering work in trans-species psychology and similar policy papers in the ASI collection including another paper authored by Gay and Theodora Capaldo of NEAVS,"The Bioethics of Great Ape Well-Being." which is fitting given the parrots have been compared to primates in terms of their intelligence and social needs.

Here is an excerpt from the executive summary:

Wildlife capture and captive breeding are increasingly controversial. Growing recognition of animal sentience has raised concerns about the ethics of captivity: if nonhuman animals share mental and emotional capacities comparable to humans, then, argument follows, comparable ethical and legal standards are compelled. Captive breeding is also questionable for practical reasons. Stereotypy, depression, infanticide, and physical maladies found routinely in captive-bred wildlife are not normal, but symptomatic of traumatic environmental conditions. The fact that maladaptive traits transmit across generations means that the captive breeding is a problematic practice. This has serious implications for the “pet” trade and wildlife reintroduction programs that use captive breeding as a viable solution for repopulating dwindling wild populations. As a result of changing views on the pragmatics and ethics of captivity and standing science, regulations and laws concerning wildlife trade have come under scrutiny. Through a review of the literature, we assessed effects of capture, captivity, and breeding on parrot welfare. We asked and researched the question: Does science support the practice of captivity for Psittaciformes species?

Copies can be obtained from ASI or you can E-mail me for an electronic copy.

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