I am impressed with your organization.
I have a Congo African Grey Parrot. She is female and is about 15 years old. Compared to some of the birds on your site, Grey Bird is in great shape. She has all her feathers and does not pluck herself, but her quality of life is not the best!
I have reached a point in my life when I would like to travel a bit. I cannot do so with her. She does not do well if she is moved! And I do not feel good leaving her.
A few weeks ago I saw a DVD entitled “The Cove”. It was about the slaughter of dolphins in Japan and about the dolphins that are captured and sent to “sea exhibits” around the world. The producer was the person who trained the original Flipper in the Flipper television series. Flipper ended his life in this man’s arms. Dolphins and whales are the only animals who can will themselves to stop breathing and this is what Flipper did. It opened this man’s eyes to the level of suffering of dolphins in captivity.
I think the same level of suffering is true for parrots! It opened my eyes.
What do dolphins and parrots have in common?
1. They are both highly intelligent creatures.
2. They are both VERY social animals.
3. They are both capable of living a long time. I think parrots outlive dolphins.
4. They both suffer a great deal in captivity.
Parrots cannot end their own suffering, but some of their “captive” behaviours make one think that they want to!
I tried to be a good owner. I rescued Grey Bird. There is no comparison to what she was when she came to me and what she is now, but I failed her as well.
What I see on a much deeper level now is that parrots cannot be kept happily as pets by a single owner in a cage, any more than dolphins can be happily kept in a sea world environment. Neither is possible.
Parrots should not be offered for sale.
In my other life I was a biologist. I majored in animal behaviour – ethology. The study of ethology teaches very clearly the difference between “tame” and “domesticated”. Dolphins and parrots can be easily tamed but never domesticated.
All wild animals have what are called flight distances. This is the distance a wild animal will let you approach before they attack or run. Sociable animals like parrots and dolphins can reduce this distance to zero. They allow human contact. This is the definition of “tame” – flight distance is reduced to zero. “Domestic” means the animal can thrive and do well in a human environment. Most domestic animals could not survive in any other environment. Cats, dogs, and cattle are some examples, but this is not true of dolphins or parrots. Most do not thrive.
Parrots require tremendous stimulation.
Alas poor Grey Bird leads a most deprived life. She has had the best of food (pellets!), care, etc, but I have failed her. She does not know that she is a bird. I know this. She actively courts Magi, my Papillon. What can I say?
I do not think it is in a parrot’s best interest to be someone’s pet.
Like I said, parrots are tamed, not domesticated. They need to be in colonies of their own kind. Like training Flipper did for the producer of The Cove, having Grey Bird has made me see very clearly how totally wrong it is to keep a parrot as a pet. I am her future, and I want to do what is best for her.
I want to give her the best “forever” future I possibly can.