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#251200 - 03/22/13 11:51 AM Licensing of all exotics??  
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oliscot Offline
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Just curious what people think of the idea of a licensing system for all exotics. While organisations such as the RSPCA and the humane society probably dont have enough exotics knowledge/experience to provide guidelines to improve the welfare of such animals, what if those who have the knowedge/experience/drive (people with background in some of the better run zoos/rescue organisations/exotics vets comme to mind) were involved? How would we would go about achieving a licensing system if it was feasable? Does anyone know of anywhere where licensing system has been put in place - has it improved things at all?

MY CURRENT THOUGHTS: I can definately see that the best sitution would be for most exotics (perhaps there are a few exceptions) taken outof the pet trade and humans stuck with cats/dogs/horses for companionship, but realistically I cannot see this happening (at least not for a long time). PERHAPS a system where you had to prove you had the knoweldge/ experience to give that animal the best life it could possibly have in captivity before you got the license might weed out some of those who are either well meaning but ignorant or posers who want an exotic because its sooo cool, (but have little concern for the welfare of that animal). Granted it wont completely stop the animal welfare issues we see in the exotic pet trade, but maybe it would be a small step in the right direction.

Any thoughts - pro or against?

Last edited by oliscot; 03/22/13 12:32 PM. Reason: typos
#251202 - 03/23/13 12:52 AM Re: Licensing of all exotics?? [Re: oliscot]  
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I'm a bit on the fence here about it. There have been a few attempts in the US to limit/ban some exotics but politics gets in the way and instead of banning the problem animals like the big snakes, crocadilians, big cats, primates and an assortment of other "wild" animals it became all inclusive with the Fish and Wildlife needing to come up with a list. It didn't pass. It was written so poorly it would have banned all parrots right down to budgies.


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#251205 - 03/23/13 03:53 PM Re: Licensing of all exotics?? [Re: BE2Cassie]  
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oliscot Offline
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Originally Posted By: BE2Cassie
I'm a bit on the fence here about it. There have been a few attempts in the US to limit/ban some exotics but politics gets in the way and instead of banning the problem animals like the big snakes, crocadilians, big cats, primates and an assortment of other "wild" animals it became all inclusive with the Fish and Wildlife needing to come up with a list. It didn't pass. It was written so poorly it would have banned all parrots right down to budgies.


Yeah Im not sure I would support a complete ban of exotics. However the thought of things like big cats/primates/wolves kept by any tom dick or mary with afew bucks and a backyard (if that) is very disturbing. Those animals need to be in fascilitiesx that have the experience/knowledge and space to house them safely and reasonably humanely. If there was a serious attempt to remove those animals from the pety trade, and control control breeding/supply/kereping of other exotics Id probabvly support it and see it as a step forward. I guess on the surface it seems simple, but when you really look into it it isnt that easy. frown

#251210 - 03/24/13 04:33 AM Re: Licensing of all exotics?? [Re: oliscot]  
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In order to get a falconers license you have to apprentice and take a written test. I think that the area for the bird also has to be inspected. Perhaps a happy medium could be found to protect the parrots as well as birds of prey. Of course there isn't a large demand to put a hawk in your living room either. No one really wants one of those and there certainly isn't a lot of folks breeding them. I got to hunt with a red tailed hawk a long time ago. It was fascinating.

#257157 - 11/05/14 08:05 AM Re: Licensing of all exotics?? [Re: oliscot]  
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I would like to preface my response to this post with my disclaimer post, which describes my view that problems concerning psittacine ownership should be managed with near-term and long-term strategies.

The falconry license is a model that I will draw inspiration from. In USA, Mexico and Canada a person must have a license to legally keep a hawk (there might be some exceptions for non-native hawks that not used to hunt, which vary state-by-state).

Although it is not perfect, the requirement to obtain a license to possess a bird has its upsides. A licensing regime improves the hawk's welfare in a number of ways. Top on the list is, there are not a massive number of unwanted birds that have no place to go. Falconry birds includes both wild-caught and captive breed birds, such as the Harris's hawk, which is one of the most widely breed birds for falconry. I believe that it is because of the limitations imposed by licensing, that Harris's hawk are not over-breed the way many parrots are. In comparison to psittacines, there are far fewer hawks that are abused and kept in squalid conditions. In the US, sometimes hawks are kept illegally, and those birds are sometimes abused, but that is the exception rather than the rule. In those cases the birds are confiscated and there are also legal penalties for the perpetrators. Overall, I feel that for hawks, licensing requirements has helped the birds.

The fact that owning a parrot would require a license would automatically weed-out those people that don't want to devote a chunk of there life/time to a bird. The people that only want a pretty creature in the east corner of there room would be turned off by the idea of having to obtain a license. Impulse buys would be eliminated. When someone sees a friendly bird and is captivated by it's intense beauty, that person would then learn that keeping such a creature would require licenses. The person would then have to decide if they are willing to go through the licensing process.

A licensing regime for psittacines would share many features with the licensing of falconry, however there would be may differences due to the licensing regime being crafted specifically for parrots and their nature. I believe that the system should be multi-tiered system with a number of requirements

multi-tiered: definition
First, I think parrot species should be rated on a scale of 1 to 3 (or 1 to 4) based on how difficult it is to keep them. I had read many accounts by people who have obtain a cockatoo after having kept a smaller psittacines, those people compare it to the different experiences to the difference between collage and professional sports. Budgies have been selectively breed long enough so that they are more manageable. Budgies and similar psittacines would be a 1 on the psittacine scale. Species that are the most difficult to keep and have shown a tendency to self-destruct would get the highest number on the psittacine scale. Birds on the psittacine 1 category would never require a license to own however, caretakers would be held to a standard of humane care, like cats and dogs should. I believe that a multi-tiered system would be superior to a binary regulate or not-regulate system. A multi-tiered system could be implemented in stages, where only the highest category(s) would require a license, after review, the law could be adjusted to require licensing for other categories if needed. Another advantages to a multi-tiered system is the possibility for more stringent requirements on a license to keep some birds.

Requirement 1:apprenticeship
Just as a falconry license requires an apprenticeship before a person can earn the license, a psittacine license would also require that a person would have to do an apprenticeship under a licensed person. This requirement would provide hands-on training with an adult bird. This way people can get a real-world feel for the difference between handling a young bird and an adult bird and even a hormonal bird. As a person works with real live birds not just when the birds are being sweet, but when the birds are "acting up", the apprentice would have to ask himself/herself, "Is it really worth it, and do I have what it takes to be a parrot caretaker, or should I just love them from a distance?".

From my own experience in the late 90s, I was considering getting my bird from one particular Texas breeder however, he would not allow an outside person to handle a bird who was not the intended purchaser. As a result, I had to travel to multiple pet stores, so that I could get a feel for handling a bird. Still however, I was usually not dealing with adult birds. I think everyone who is concerned for parrots can agree, hands-on experience is needed before a someone commits to becoming a parrot caretaker. Anything else would be unfair to both the bird and the human. In the near-term, parrot rescues could provide much of the requirements for apprenticeship.

Requirement 2:contingency plan
Because of the long lifespans of psittacines, a contingency plan would be required for keeping large parrots. A contingency plan would be made so that if the caretaker dies or if for some other reason he/she can not take of the birds, the birds have a place to go. A licensed person or organization must be willing and on-the-record to take in the birds in an emergency situation. Possessing a psittacine licenses would mean that you would be required to keep the contingency plan up-to-date. As the years pass, persons on the contingency plan may find themselves in a different situation, or they may become the recipient of birds from another contingency plan, leaving them with limited space.

Requirement 3:bird database
I think along with licentiateship, the law should require a universal database of birds that are members of the highest psittacine category(s). The purpose of universal tracking is to see how genetic and environmental components effect how well the bird is able to adapt to a life as a companion animal. The bird's bloodlines would be tracked. The circumstances of the bird's early life and weening experience would be contained in the database. As all of these may be factors as to why some birds do better as companion animals than others.

#257159 - 11/05/14 07:14 PM Re: Licensing of all exotics?? [Re: oliscot]  
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I first read this last night and decided to sleep on it and give it additional thought.
In a perfect world with unlimited funding I can see this as a possibility. That said I would like to play devil's advocate here and point out some concerns I have.
Multi-Tiered sorry I find this just plain wrong! Budgies can be just as difficult behaviorally as the big birds. They are just in a smaller package. Many of the small birds pluck and mutilate in the wrong settings. Some even in the right settings. I have had budgies, cockatiels, quaker, conures, ring neck and senegal at my house who all had issues with either feather distruction or mutilation. I have worked with numerous parrots in the zoos with behavioral issues. With this I would have to go back to the volunteering at the rescues with out the tiers.
Apprenticeship I think is a fantastic idea. The problem is who does the person go to? Rescues already have major time constraints and I'm guessing would not want to take on this additional time burden. Maybe if it was done as a number of hours needed during apprenticeship that they could volunteer at a rescue. This would help the rescues with their time constraints. Falconry apprenticeship programs are a money making venue, not something we would want to see. My personal opinion is that this would add fuel to the fire and many breeders coming forward to make additional money.
Contingency plans are wonderful but impossible to police and who would do this policing?
Bird Database How and who and where? The AZA zoos keep such a data base on all the species in all the zoos. In the zoos all of the animals are not just recorded but also have an identifier. Identifiers can be anything from uniques markings to tattoos and chips.
If you would like to see a similar program to this just look into the herp community. There are a ton of animals considered illegal or that the owner needs to have a permit to own. The program in the US is a joke. To obtain and own venomous snakes needs an apprenticeship and permit in most states. Within the Lacey Act some of the larger snakes are now banned for breeding,sale or transporting across state lines. Again another joke, I know of breeders that are still producing. I had one guy ask me if I would pet sit his spitting cobra. All venomous snakes are illegal in MA. There is no policing or I should say not enough available through Fish & Wildlife.
Now if each of these standards were to be maintained by the breeders just maybe a few would close up shop.
Take some time and read about falconry practices. While some of the birds are bred in captivity most are not. The birds are taken out of the nest or caught when young. In the permitting procress falconers are only allowed to replace one bird per season. This is due to the numbers that do return to the wild. Some of the practices in training these birds is not pretty. I would not want to see licensing practices based on falconry permits.


Nancy & Cassie BE2
#257180 - 11/07/14 12:45 AM Re: Licensing of all exotics?? [Re: oliscot]  
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We have too many laws now and not enough policing to enforce them. A complete ban would just send it underground.


Birds are angels who lift us up when our own wings forget how to fly.

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world - indeed it is the only thing that ever has!" ~~~ Margaret Meade ~~~

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#257182 - 11/07/14 04:28 AM Re: Licensing of all exotics?? [Re: oliscot]  
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Exactly!


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