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Bird Ban in Missouri Under Revision, Rep. Says

Bills would ban Missouri residents from possessing parrots

By BirdChannel News Division

budgies, parakeets, Missouri bird ban
Bird species mentioned in the bill includes budgies (parakeets) as "wild animals."

The pet industry, particularly the bird and exotics market, is watching legislation introduced in Missouri earlier this year that appears to ban ownership of popular pet animals, such as parrots and reptiles. The proposal, Missouri House bill No. 1847 and companion Senate bill No. 1032, bans the state’s residents from selling, trading or possessing any animal it defines as wild.

Although the bill states that “Wild animals shall not include companion animals,” it further says that a wild animal is “any live animal that is wild by nature, whether bred in the wild or in captivity and whether or not native to Missouri.” The bill then goes on to specifically list all venomous reptiles and “parrots, parakeets, finches, doves and pigeons, and canaries,” as wild animals.

These conflicting definitions are what have some pet groups concerned. 

“A ban on specifically named species, such as parakeets, parrots, finches and canaries is bad enough, but the way this bill is currently crafted all birds and reptiles are banned,” the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council wrote in a Pet Alert. “It does not matter whether that is the intent, it will be the law if this bill passes without amendments.”

The American Federation of Aviculture, which represents bird breeders, voiced similar concerns saying in a memo to its members that if the bill passes it will “eventually end bird breeding and bird keeping in Missouri.”

The Missouri legislator who introduced the bill, however, says if the bill makes it to committee – it has not yet been assigned – it will be revised to remove pet birds and some other pets.

“The language regarding birds will be changed in committee (should the bill receive a hearing) so that birds will be listed among the exempted animals (along with gerbils, for example),” Rep. Beth Low said in an e-mail.

The bill’s text can be found here, but some of the companion animals it exempts include dogs, cats, fish, hamsters, rabbits, some feral animals and some turtles. Non-human primates, “Crocodilia,” and some specific reptile species, including some pythons would also be banned under the new definition.

Ownership of non-domesticated “felidae and hybrids thereof, except for domesticated and feral cats” and “canidae, except for domesticated dogs,” would also be banned under the new proposal. Additionally, the bill allows the state to add other animals to the wild animal definition in the future.

“The goal is to provide a modicum of oversight for the breeding, selling and ownership of wild animals,” Low said.

She said that this is a “significant problem” in Missouri, which has “no laws governing the proper care, registration, etc of wild animals.” This lack of oversight has made Missouri the “go-to-state for purchasing large cats, just to name one example,” she added.

Low said the bill is based on “ASPCA boilerplate legislation.” The aspects of the bill that make “sure that wild animals are properly and responsibly cared for, and are tracked by local authorities for the benefit of public health and safety, will remain intact,” she said.

The bill was read in the state’s House January 28, 2008 for a second time. Its Senate companion bill, which would establish more comprehensive wild animal registry requirements, was referred to the Judiciary and Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Committee Feb. 5.

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Bird Ban in Missouri Under Revision, Rep. Says

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Reader Comments
Sounds pretty frustrating.Birdchannel please get more up to date articles for us to read and follow up on them as well?
Traci, Glendale, OR
Posted: 5/26/2013 12:34:33 PM
Why can't they just improve their enforcement and punishment for those who do not take of their pets properly, rather than banning certain animals, and punishing all in the process?! What is going to happen to all the pet stores that sell birds and other exotic animals? and the breeders in Missouri who sell to those stores? It will put many out of work and all we need in Missouri is more people who are unemployed!! Hello!! This is not the answer. Put laws that govern the way the take care of the animals. I agree that animal cruelty is wrong, wrong, wrong, but don't punish the good guys because you can't do a better job at punishing the bad guys. I pray this does not pass, ever! God willing, it won't!
Andrea, Camdenton, MO
Posted: 9/18/2010 11:14:32 AM
It sounds like those officials need to get a like and do some real work.
Dan, Sandy Valley, NV
Posted: 11/24/2009 8:18:47 AM
It seems that the very people elected to protect our freedoms are continuously taking them away. Responsible pet owners should not be punished by a law that really has no purpose. I hope that enough opinions are voiced to open some eyes about the sheer stupidity of this proposed ban.
Christi, Carrollton, MO
Posted: 7/10/2009 10:42:37 AM
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