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Keeping exotic pets

Spreads for web 4

Avian vet and aviculturalist, Tariq Abou-Zahr MRCVS, gives his personal and professional view about the welfare and legal aspects of keeping exotic pets

This article is not a scientific, referenced article, but a reflection of my own personal views as an aviculturist and veterinary surgeon working in the field of avian/exotic medicine in the UK. I intend it to be thought provoking and I hope it will generate some healthy debate. As parrot keepers, it’s important that we are all as proactive as possible when it comes to ensuring that our birds have good welfare, otherwise, someone else may decide to take our ability to keep birds away from us.

I love to debate and discuss the political aspects of the keeping of so called ‘exotic’ species by private owners in the UK. The terminology has been debated many times, with exotics being used as an umbrella term to describe any kept animal which is not a dog, cat, horse or domestic food producing species – including parrots. Not all species which fit into the category of exotics, are particularly exotic, although parrots certainly are. Some organisations have instead referred to these species as ‘non-traditional companion animals’, which isn’t a brilliant title as far as species such as parrots are concerned, because many are not kept as companions, rather for interest, hobby or ornamental purposes.

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