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Birds Rights: Zero Stimulation In the Life of Caged Birds
  Check out the bird photo gallery
Posted: 4 June 2014

Conure named Skittles

Skittles a Fancy Green Cheek Conure was on display at Petco in Chula Vista, California, however he was not on sale anymore as of June of 2014. A sign in window read 75% off even after he was gone. Skittles was hatched in May of 2013 and spent from December of 2013 until June of 2014 on sale at Petco.

Skittles doesn't understand how we could leave him in the display case for so long. Neither does Mango, Tweety, or Banana (Tweety and Mango, Skittles and Banana are no longer on sale at the Chula Vista, California Petco). These are the Dusky Green and Fancy Green Check Conures at Petco that have been on display and in prison like captivity for over 6 months, despite the Petco employees lying to the public when asked how long the birds have been locked up for purchase at $499 each. Date stamped photographs of the birds in captivity at this Petco tell the true story that the corporation would like to hide. That their Green Check Conures and other birds do not sell as often as they would like and therefore must suffer under terrible conditions. Their surroundings are like miniature interrogation rooms in which they are held in double captivity. First they are imprisoned by thick, almost sound-proof glass designed to deceive potential buyers about the noise levels of birds. Secondly, the birds are imprisoned by their price tag which makes them unaffordable to those who may wish to rescue them. It should be unthinkable to have a Fancy Green Cheek Conure on sale for $400-500 in an economically impoverished part of Chula Vista, less than 50 miles from Petco headquarters, where they have an unreasonably low chance of being bought or properly cared for to lead a healthy life. If this goes on in the Petco headquarters backyard, imagine a Petco in a neighborhood with even less oversight or in a foreign country where animal-rights don’t exist but Petco does: Petco is now an international corporation with stores in Mexico. Additionally the birds have no choice to move to an area where they can be free from observation or have a variety of surroundings. It is unconscionable to treat highly developed and sophisticated creatures this way.  While it is good that we all need Petco and other large pet retailers and small pet stores when we need to purchase pet food, bedding, electronic tags or veterinary care, the public should not accept their sale of living merchandise that is being neglected without oversight in the form of institutionalized abuse in their stores.

Petco Grows At Home and Abroad and Bad Treatment of Birds Increases With It
         Petco has grown considerably in the last decade. All of their locations are the size of warehouses rather than just small stores like they used to be 15 years ago. It would seem that the federal standard for protecting domestic animals for sale by pet retailers is very low if it exists at all.  How many times have you ever visited Petco and wanted to buy a bird just to rescue it from the tiny enclosure it was being held captive in?  Petco will keep birds for sale living in the same lonely, silent enclosures for months or years despite their claims they don’t do this; there is no oversight of what they do. Their habit and tendency is to lie to the public if asked about the amount of time the birds have been in their dreadful little interrogation room like display cases.  Only a date-stamped, digitally photographed record of evidence taken by a member of the public tells the true story of the length of time the birds live in captivity at Petco or any pet store big or small. Out of all the animals that are sold in the pet trade, it seems like the animals that are treated the worst are the birds because they are the hardest for humans to relate to, being fragile and flighty, misunderstood, and not easy to hold or pet.  The pet trade corporations demonstrate unethical treatment of birds like a black market business in front of suburban middle class eyes and operate successfully in the above ground market, which should be alarming to the public if they wish to see animals rights protected. If the high-ideal concept of treating birds in captivity better with more consideration doesn't’t start in a place where human and animal rights are valued like in the U.S. economy, where is it going to start? Probably no-where.

Display Case Captivity is Unhealthy for the Birds  
         In a large pet store retailer, the birds’ on sale endure living conditions that are almost the same as solitary confinement in a human jail. To keep the display area clean of bird droppings the cages must be cleaned daily with cleaning agents that might not be approved for the birds well being. The birds in captivity in pet store don’t look clean and they seem visibly unwell from multiple other reasons including lack of activity, lack of exposure to sunlight, extreme boredom, loneliness, and bad hygiene. Their resilient spirits fight through this dreadful sense of being unloved and forgotten and they become no longer fliers but climbers. The birds in captivity have no room to fly, migrate, make nests, bathe in dewy grass in the morning, or do other things birds naturally do.
         The bird depends on the public who is mostly ignorant of its needs.  If a bird gets purchased there is no guarantee that its new home will be much of an improvement from how it was treated at Petco or some random pet store. The fact that Petco uses thick nearly sound-proof glass for the bird enclosures shows that they don’t really care what happens to the bird after it is sold, if it ever gets sold. Because they try to make the bird seem less loud than it is, deafening its cries for help or in distress, and they are trying to cleverly trick the public to make a sale, which is misrepresentation of the living merchandise and should be considered a bad business practice.
         Unimaginable numbers of pet birds like parakeets are forced to lead sad and unhealthy lives because their owners were unaware of the needs of these highly developed birds at the time of purchase. Birds are really not the best choice of pet for most people, even for the people who do buy them. The chances that a person purchasing a parakeet or canary or conure or any bird from a pet retailer is going to be familiar with the list of precautions to make the home bird-safe for when the bird is outside the cage is not discussed during the sale of a bird.  To a bird indoors, a sink full of soap sudsy water for dishwashing may look like a landing surface and this could lead to the bird drowning. New bird owners should be advised of such information before purchasing a bird. Also parakeets are some of the fastest and most acrobatic flyers in the world, able to easily escape from larger bird predators.  They might fly headfirst into a window and paralyze themselves even at night if the window is not covered with curtains. Even with a very experienced bird lover, a pet bird will not get to experience even a fraction of a bird’s natural life in nature if it is a domestic pet, because it will never perch in tree tops, fly in flocks touching the sky with their wings and riding the wind, or bathe as they run and hop through dewy morning grass. 

A Troubled Economy Equals a Downturn for Animals in the Wild and Owned
         As the economy has been hurt by unspecified causes and continues to decline with miniscule signs of improvement, animals and pets will continue to be increasingly neglected because they are not the highest priority for people struggling to feed themselves. The fact that the living conditions for the birds are so poor while they are in the store shows that Petco doesn't care how the birds are treated once they are taken out of the store. The public should hold the pet retailers to a higher standard of care for animals so that when parents take their children to pet stores, or when anyone visits a pet store, they don’t have to feel guilty for how the birds or any other animals are treated.  The public is taught by advertising of big pet retailers about what is good pet ownership, i.e., having lots of things for the pet like bedding, shots, treats, veterinary care, electronic tags, when in reality, the way Petco is treating their own animals in-store, shows that the marketers ideology is based on fiduciary duty to shareholders, that is, the duty to make as much money as possible, not on the well being of pets or animals. Modern society should not allow birds to be harmed for a ghostly profit, where bird sales are probably not a very lucrative part of the company’s business in comparison to other products creating revenue; they are just a traditional part of it. The tradition of living bird merchandise in pet retailer stores is in serious need of being questioned by a proactive and animal-rights respecting people.

End The Era of Animal Control Thinking That is Harming Animals
         What is today called animal control should be more focused on controlling the individuals who harm animals.  Animal control is a euphemism for animal euthanasia.  It is only a myth conveniently believed by the public that enough animals are adopted to make the adoption part of their service significant. 
         There is great potential for the creation of jobs in the area of animal welfare in terms of building and running rescue shelters for animals as well as creating teams to enforce animal protection against backyard animal abusers.  The animal shelter can be transformed into a more treasured part of the community where people can enjoy taking their children, rather than almost never visit in their entire lifetimes.

Petco Park and the San Diego Padres
Petco has the naming rights to the new baseball stadium where the San Diego Padres play that opened in April 2004.  The Padres have been suffering losses more than usual, ever since Petco bought the naming rights to the San Diego Padres baseball stadium. It is inevitable that the San Diego Padres will continue to lose as often as they win, lose the city money, and have a large number of injured players because of the bad karma that playing on a field named after a company that is abusive to animals causes them. Baseball is the American past-time sure, but sometimes when living things are suffering, whether animal or human, there are more important things in life that need American attention than just sports scoreboards, which are not mutually exclusive from the reality in which they occur and the ties which they make to other organizations.   For example, the Houston Astros bought back their naming rights to their stadium from Enron after Enron was brought down by the courts in one of the biggest corporate scandals in history. However, the scandal that Petco commits on animals is covered up in the name of finance and that is also very bad karma for this city and it’s baseball team. 

- Andrea Boggs

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