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www.regulations.gov (APHIS-2020-0068)

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PETITION TARGET: U.S. Department of Agriculture

UPDATE (9/1/2022):  The formal comment period was extended an additional 30 days and closed on May 25, 2022, a USDA spokesperson told LFT.  “After taking into consideration all substantive comments a final rule has been drafted and is under review, but until it is published we cannot comment on any details,” he added. “We are confident that the rule will be published by the court-ordered deadline of February 22, 2023.” We’ll keep watching this case. — Lady Freethinker Staff


Right now, animal breeders, exhibitors and dealers can hold wild birds in filthy, tiny cages with no food or water, and face zero penalties from the government.

Newly proposed regulations could change that.

Following lawsuits from animal welfare groups, the USDA has pitched a proposal that would require commercial industries to provide birds with nutritious and species-specific food, potable water, shelter from weather extremes, a pest-free environment, species-specific lighting, enclosures with flooring that won’t harm their feet, veterinary care when required, enrichment to promote psychological health, and access to water suitable for swimming for wading and aquatic birds.

These proposed protections are welcome, but birds deserve more. The regulations still allow pinioning – or removing a bird’s wing joint, so the poor animal can’t fly – as well as other mutilations people request for purely aesthetic or behavioral reasons, such as toe clipping, devoicing, or cutting birds’ beaks. There also are no limits on the amount of time birds can be kept tethered, and scientists would still be permitted to cut open birds in the wild, collect their blood, and perform other invasive procedures.

Wild birds don’t belong in cages in the first place — but those who are forced into captivity at least deserve to live free from torture.

Sign our petition urging the USDA to pass the majority of its proposed changes, while also strengthening protections by limiting the time that birds can be tethered, requiring that they be able and allowed to fly, and prohibiting cosmetic mutilations and contact between exhibited birds and members of the public.

Then, take a moment to also send the USDA your own personalized comment supporting the changes – and additional protections–  by either of the following methods:

  • Federal Rulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov. Enter APHIS-2020-0068 in the Search field. Select the Documents tab, then select the Comment button in the list of documents.
  • Postal Mail/Commercial Delivery: Send your comment to Docket No. APHIS-2020-0068, Regulatory Analysis and Development, PPD, APHIS, Station 3A-03.8, 4700 River Road, Unit 118, Riverdale, MD 20737-1238.

The deadline to make your voice heard is now May 25, with the changes likely to go into effect in 2023.