Position Statement on Birds as Pets

Medium and large parrots such as cockatoos, Amazons, African grays and macaws are highly intelligent, social animals with complex care requirements that include the opportunity to fly, climb and exercise; social and mental stimulation; at least one bird companion, especially for birds who mate for life; a proper, varied diet; a fume- and toxin-free environment; and protection from harm.

The larger parrots can be extremely difficult to keep. It is imperative that anyone selling or placing large parrots inform potential guardians of the negative aspects of keeping these birds: zoonotic diseases, demanding and aggressive behavior, loud vocalizations, and longevity that may exceed the guardian’s. Failure to do so can result in the bird being relinquished, abandoned or shut away from family life.

ASPCA Position
The ASPCA does not recommend the keeping of large parrots as pets unless appropriate care can be provided. The ASPCA encourages anyone who believes he or she can offer appropriate care to rescue a bird from a bird sanctuary or shelter instead of buying from a breeder or pet store. The ASPCA recommends that all pet stores stop selling large parrots. Where they are sold, the chicks should be reared by captive-bred parents, and should know how to eat on their own before sale. The ASPCA asks bird clubs to limit the breeding of large parrots, especially those obtained from shelters or relinquished by former guardians, and to wait until all birds have been weaned before placing them. The ASPCA strongly supports federal and state laws that prohibit the import or sale of wild-caught birds.