Avian Welfare Laws & Legislation

Captive Birds and the Law

Parrots and other exotic birds commonly sold as pets or used for entertainment, at present, do not have specific regulations under the federal Animal Welfare Act.  Moreover, they are frequently excluded from animal welfare legislation, pet shop regulations, and existing animal cruelty statutes.

Learn more about the current animal protection laws governing captive birds by referring to the resources below.   

Our avian law webinars are presented by leading experts in the animal protection field.  "There Ought To be A Law, "provides a summary of current law as well as suggested approaches to improving captive bird welfare.  “Unusual Victims” highlights the complexity of animal cruelty cases involving birds. Produced for the Association of Prosecuting Attorneys by the Avian Welfare Coalition and the Animal Welfare Institute, and presented by Anthony Pilny, DVM, DABVP.  bit.ly/UnVicBirds 

"There Ought To Be a Law" webinar:

Avian Law Resources

NEW – Birds Are Finally About To Get the Protection They Deserve
By Bruce Wagman

NEW – The Hidden Face of Bird Abuse [pdf] (updated version)
By Denise Kelly, National Animal Control Association Spring 2020 Issue  

Guidelines for Evaluating Bird Abuse & Neglect – A quick guide to aid humane enforcement in evaluating conditions that may contribute to the mistreatment of captive exotic birds and to help facilitate corrective actions. Note: Items covered in this checklist do not necessarily reflect legal requirements. Pet shop and anti-cruelty laws vary between states. Check your state's pet shop laws.

The Need for Avian Advocacy
A Special Report by the American Anti-Vivisection Society 

Color-Coded Map of Laws Relating to Birds in Pet Shops [pdf]

Animal Legal Defense Fund

Animal Law Resource Center

Animal Cruelty Reporting Resources:

Animal Legal Defense Fund