Our Reason for Being
Why this website?
Where parrots are concerned, we believe that the happiest parrot is one
living free in its natural habitat.
But we are not here to denounce responsible owners or to attack
breeders whose practices ensure attentive, humane care. Eliminating parrot
ownership is simply unrealistic, and debating the morality of breeding does
little for parrots in need. However, we are concerned about those instances of
parrot abuse perpetrated by the uncommon breeder. The ultimate goal of this
website is to help, in some limited way, to prevent some of this abuse from
happening. Some of the traits which most endear parrots to us are their
intelligence and sentience; these same traits dictate that we treat them
with intelligence and compassion, because if we don't, there is no doubt
that they will suffer greatly. We believe that is too great a sacrifice for
them to bear for the gain of others.
While parrots belong in the wild, we recognize that it is unreasonable
to expect that those conditions can ever be fully reproduced in captivity. We
also know, however, that, being undomesticated animals, a breeder parrot has
the same "hard-wired" genetically-dictated biologic requirements as a pet
parrot. Nonetheless, again we recognize that a breeder bird cannot logistically
be treated to all of the environmental provisions provided to companion
birds. Unfortunately, that distinction has been used as an excuse by some
breeders to fail to provide many or most requirements of these breeder
birds—ones which can be readily provided to breeder birds and which are,
in fact, highly recommended by their own avicultural community. Washington
State laws (and those of many states) provide for these requirements; when they
are not met, an animal abuse or cruelty situation ensues.
Each of these points will be discussed on the ensuing pages.
|Picture taken March,
the elements at Parrot Depot
For a number of years, concern about the alleged mistreatment of
breeder birds in Pierce County, Washington has largely focused on a "bird farm"
run initially by Martha and John Scudder, and now by Martha Scudder and Robert
Vincent, and called Scudder's Parrot Depot. It is, we are told, the largest
parrot farm in the Pacific Northwest. However, we underscore that this
website is not about Scudder Parrot Depot per se. Other bird farms
in the County have allegedly abused breeder birds and the true extent of the
problem is unknown. Our extensive discussion of the Parrot Depot, however,
serves several general functions:
- One is to point out the breadth and depth of the abuses at least at
one farm, both to discuss and illustrate the issues.
- But in addition, to point out that if abuses of this magnitude in the
largest farm went uncorrected for so long, what can we hope for, in less
blatant but still significant cases of abuse of breeder birds at smaller
- To point out the almost total lack of knowledge and training of both
Humane Officers and lawmakers in the subtleties of avian care required to make
sound decisions about the care of these undomesticated creatures. Parrots
simply cannot be treated like dogs or cats.
- To point out the almost non-existent provisions in the current laws
to enforce corrective measures when animal abuse or cruelty is suspected.
In short, our major goal for this website is to promote the humane care
of parrots, not to attack anyone. However, let us be clear: where
people have, in our opinion, acted in ways which are not in the interests of
the protection of humane treatment for parrots, we see no reason not to state
so with vigor.
"Look! Look! See how fearfully and wonderfully this
creature is made.
See how beautifully the feathers
are laid together.
See the gloss of live intelligence in this eye, and in this one
By this intricacy, this supreme delicacy and elegance,
that neither you nor a multitude of you
could make such a creature.
If you could make even a replica, you could not make it live.
did not exist, you could not imagine it.
Since it does exist, please do not
—Wendell Berry, 1991, with
These two cockatoos represent our only
'constituency', our only reason for being. Neglect and abuse led them to pluck
out their own feathers and to deliberately injure themselves. But at least they
were rescued from their despair and taken in to a loving home.
In this website,
we report on parrots who died from starvation, from smoke inhalation, from
communicable diseases—carcasses in large numbers tossed into the trash or
stuck into a freezer. It is too late for them. It is not too late for the
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