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Dear Parrots magazine,

Alex’s controversial confinement

I want to commend Pam Fryer for her article regarding Alex the African Grey, because she brought up a point that has bothered me for many years - the conditions under which Alex was kept his whole life.

I read Dr. Pepperberg’s book describing her work with Alex, and it came through very clearly that she regarded Alex as a science experiment, and kept him in what I consider to be a rather bleak and sterile environment.

He was definitely plucked, and his replacement is also plucked, which to me indicates that these birds are stressed and unhappy. Alex did in fact die at a relatively early age, and we will never know if his confinement in a laboratory setting played a role in his unfortunate demise.

I am the founder of The Wing Foundation, a non-profit Parrot Rescue based in San Francisco, California, and I have extensive experience with all types of parrots. I have worked with many rescued African Greys over the years which came to me with plucking problems, and I found with the right care, they were generally able to fully re-grow their feathers. Needless to say, that care did not include being confined in a research laboratory.

Although I commend Dr. Pepperberg on the fact that her research proved conclusively that African Grey parrots are highly intelligent, it does cause me a great deal of sadness when I think of the methods she used for obtaining this information.

Thank you so much Pam, for your insightful and compassionate article.

Dana Strome, The Wing Foundation Parrot Rescue, San Francisco, California




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