Friday, October 10, 2008
Of Parrots & Mexico
By Jessica Pineda, Assistant Editor of BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com
Follow in the adventures of Jessica Pineda's experiences in bird ownership in The Parrot Life.
Mexico is moving to ban all parrot sales in order to combat the illegal parrot trade, as half of Mexico’s 22 parrot species are endangered. Some people would immediately cheer and call this a big step for animal conservation. I have to wonder how well this is going to work. Laura Doering and I got into a discussion about the ramifications of this to Mexico's pet trade and if there are any reputable bird breeders
You can buy parrots for cheap in Mexico. Cheap, cheap. However, you might be getting a creature plucked from the wild and stuffed in a cage. The parrot is the true victim in all this, and I can only hope this ban will help prevent more birds from being captured and forced to live in a horrible setting.
I started talking to my dad about this; he grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, and when he was younger (mind, this was 40 years ago), he remembers there were parrots everywhere. He lived in a tropical area, so the parrots were in the trees and people would capture and sell them for 5 pesos (about 75 cents to a dollar). Not much has changed; he recently went down to Mexico on business, and while on a bus driving around the rural parts, he saw a man selling parrots for about $20. (It's a way to make money, sadly.)
We then started talking about the concepts of "pets" in Mexico, versus the United States. In Mexico, if you are a poor family, you don't want extra mouths you have to feed if you can barely feed yourself. If you have a pet, it has to earn its keep. The dog is the watchdog and guard dog. The cat has to catch the mice. My Dad isn’t sure the role the bird plays, but he thinks it could be another warning system if someone breaks into the house. I think the bird is a form of entertainment. Everything has its place in the family.
Mexico is a third-world country. Some people still have dirt floors and holes in the ground to go to the bathroom. They don't have the luxury of pets. Some people can only make money by capturing wild parrots and selling them. I doubt a ban on parrots sales is really going to stop them, so in the end, I'm still wondering how this is going to work. Only time will tell.
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Of Parrots & Mexico