For the past 15 years, rules and regulations on a local, state, and national level have been considered and proposed. Responsible people within the avicultural community and within the governmental agencies have attempted to regulate the pet bird industry, which would, of course, affect all of aviculture.
In addition, since the early eighties, animal rights groups, sometimes with the help of the conservation community, have attempted to ban importation of wild-caught birds into the United States, prohibit interstate transportation by air, and regulate ownership and care of exotic birds within the U.S. When there is a law in force dealing with exotic birds, there will be regulations in association with that law: permits, fees, licenses, inspections, a definition of legal and illegal activities under those regulations, and perhaps even stipulations about the care of exotics. Across the U.S., both state and local laws have been proposed on these matters.
Historically, aviculturists have been anti-regulation, privacy-oriented individuals. They have resisted all attempts to regulate their activities, until the passage of the Wild Bird Conservation Act of 1992. In fact, this law would probably not have been passed if aviculturists had joined together to form a professional association or organization which would have set basic standards for bird care. The lack of such a nationally-known organization left the door open for restrictive legislation.
Unfortunately, throughout the eighties, aviculturists did not join together and work in a unified manner to meet the rising tide of animal rights legislation. Hopefully, we will remember and respect the old saying: "...those who won't stand together, will all hang separately...." It is time for aviculturists to join together to work for our common interests. The alternative is to be overcome by those who do not believe in captive breeding and do not want to see birds in cages for any reason.
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