Many people buy parrots, cockatoos and galahs because they ‘speak’, and are therefore entertaining. The birds then spend the rest of their lives in a cage, repeating meaningless phrases for the amusement of their ‘owners’. These birds can live up to 100 years, often in a small cage in solitude, with no room to carry out their natural behaviours, such as flying.
Nearly all cockatoos and large parrots sold in shops were trapped in the wild. This sudden captivity in a cage, for the pleasure and convenience of humans, can cause stress and disease for the birds. In contrast to their life of freedom and companionship with the flock, caged birds suffer lives of boredom, inactivity, loneliness, sexual frustration and dependence.
There is currently no adequate legislation addressing the needs of birds in captivity. Animal Liberation’s campaign, Freedom for Birds, aims to free the birds from their cages.
Lack of Movement and Adequate Exercise
Flight is an innate biological function for birds, yet a standard cockatoo cage does not even allow a bird to fully stretch out their wings, let alone fly. Birds that normally fly vast distances in the wild are confined in small spaces and denied exercise.
Lack of Social Interaction with Other Birds
In the wild, most cockatoos and parrots live in groups, carrying out their daily activities in pairs, small family groups or flocks. Pair bonded birds usually remain together their entire lives. In captivity, however, these naturally social birds are isolated, generally in solitary confinement. They are deprived of companionship, the ability to form relationships with their own kind and the opportunity to carry out natural reproductive functions.
Lack of Adequate Food and Nutrition
Wild birds eat a variety of foods, including insects and plants. For example, the Sulphur-crested Cockatoo has been observed eating over 55 species of plants, including seeds, roots, fruits, berries and flowers. In captivity, birds are generally fed a commercial mix containing only a few different seeds.
Lack of Natural Hygiene
In the wild, changes in sunshine, rain and temperature are essential for maintaining birds’ health and hygiene. Captive birds may never experience these natural cycles. In addition, they are frequently subjected to dirty perches, cages and water troughs.
Lack of Adequate Protection
Wild birds protect themselves from predators and unsuitable environments by flying away, joining their flock or hiding among vegetation. In a cage a bird is completely helpless, dependant and at the mercy of their ‘owner’ for protection.