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Dear Parrots magazine,

Wing clipping

I was at a garden centre recently (I won’t mention where it is) that has a large pet section and in that section was an African Grey standing on a wobbly perch. Having two Greys myself I was naturally attracted to it, but what I thought was going to be a pleasant visit, turned out to be a horror show.

It was obvious that the Grey’s feathers had been cut as sharp quills were visible. There was a group of people who were interested to look at this Grey and as a fairly unruly lad went up to it, it did not look happy and flew off the stand. Well, I say flew off, but what actually happened was that it could hardly fly and crashed to the ground.

With that, a young assistant hurried over and picked it up and put it back on the stand. I was horrified and decided to get involved. The poor bird should never have been left unattended and should, of course, never have had its wings cut so badly or, indeed, at all.

I asked this young assistant to call the manager and she did, which is when we got somewhat het up. The manager seemed to take exception at my complaint about the unsuitability of this wobbly perch and that the Grey should not have had its wings clipped. But it was clear he had little or no idea of what I was taking about. However, after I ‘gave him a brief lesson’ about parrots, his attitude changed and he agreed to take away the perch and the Grey.

He said he would speak to the breeder and not accept any more parrots with clipped wings. I said I will be coming back to monitor. We did eventually leave on reasonably good terms and hope some of my advice will be heeded. Just shows it does pay to make a stand for the benefit of animals.

Patricia Wells, by email




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