Bird markets in the Netherlands, legal animal cruelty

Bird markets, not of this age!

In the Netherlands, dozens of bird markets are being organized. It is incomprehensible that bird markets are still being held without any requirements concerning the welfare of the birds and prevention with regard to infectious diseases. The reason for this is that in this area no agreements have been made in regard to the Animal Health and Welfare law. This means that lacking prohibition the animal abuse is legal.

Areas of critique and question
Why no dog and cat markets
No health requirements for exhibition
Photos taken at a bird market

There are well-founded criticisms and questions regarding the organization of bird markets;
  • The welfare of the birds are in all respects subordinate to the commercial interests of the organization and those that sell the birds.
  • The way the birds are transported, offered for sale and the way the birds are treated as merchandise, can be regarded as extremely bird unfriendly.
  • It is bizarre to see how the birds are packed together in minuscule cages and are kept like this throughout the day without a perch. Often the tails of parakeets are bended due to lack of space.
  • Organizing bird markets is an important factor regarding the spread of infectious diseases. It is the experience of the Clinic for Birds that breeders who, when they know there is a contagious disease found in birds, will sell the birds through a wholesale buyer at the bird market. It is therefore not surprising that those who organize generally will not buy themselves at the bird market. They do not take the risk to infect their own birds with a contagious disease.

  • More information:
    Artikel “Psittacosis” If disease in birds, contagious to humans - Clinic for Birds (side is in Dutch only)
  • Bird markets have led to impulse purchases by unsuspecting visitors where the seller usually remains anonymous and cannot afterwards be identified or held accountable for his responsibility if the bird bought at the bird market, has an infectious disease. By law, sellers are required to provide guarantee when selling a bird. Through bird markets these sellers are able to circumvent this law of which many buyers are unaware.
  • There is no control over the information / guidance provided by vendors / traders.
  • Bird Markets represent a real risk with regard to public health due to the spread of psittacosis as a zoonosis.
  • Bird Markets play a dubious role in the illegal international trade in which some birds without a declaration of health or a certificate of ownership are being bought by foreigners and directly disappear to other countries.

Why no dog and cat markets.
It is impossible to organize a similar market for trade in dogs and cats. It is unthinkable for dogs and cats from the Netherlands and even from abroad to be put together in a large hall with dogs and cats in crates / cages or chains.

For dogs and cats there are exhibitions where animals are gathered to be reviewed by a judge. When organizing an exhibition, a dog / cat has to meet a number of requirements. The animals must be vaccinated against at least the known infectious diseases in dogs / cats. The emphasis in these exhibitions is generally that the owner wants to take the animals he brought back home. The owners and the dogs / cats are registered and traceable afterwards.

No health requirements for exhibition
At bird exhibitions there are no requirements for health. The big difference with a bird market is that at an exhibition birds are brought together by breeders who know each other and are individually registered. These are birds whose owners want them to be viewed by a judge. This generally means that the owner does not want to sell them.

That even at an exhibition risks are incurred in terms of infectious diseases is not an issue. A notorious example is the outbreak of psittacosis after the bird show in Weurt where 17 visitors have become seriously ill.

  • Bird Markets are no longer acceptable given the welfare aspects and risks of the spread of infectious diseases.
  • The government walks away from its responsibility to take the health and welfare problems of birds seriously.

  • The Dutch Parrot Foundation defends the rights of parrots. To ensure that the government does not stay in denial, we need your help! You can help by Sponsorship or by becoming a sponsor.

    Photos taken at a bird market
    Click on the photos below to enlarge. The picture of the cockatiel with a mucous membrane infection, a typical phenomenon of psittacosis.

    Drs. Jan Hooimeijer, Bird Vet.
    Clinic for Birds © 2009 Meppel
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