AFA in action ... NEWS and VIEWS


President's Message

Most of you are aware that the regulations are being drafted
as required to implement the Exotic Bird Conservation Act of
1992. Currently, only CITES listed (I, II, III) species that were
imported during 1991 have been allowed entry, at their 1991
levels. Non-CITES species are allowed without restriction,
with only a few exceptions.
A number of AFA special committees have been established
to provide input as to the new regulations. AFA wants
reasonable, workable guidelines for certification of foreign
breeding facilities and breeding consortiums as well as an
"Approved List" that actually reflects the current status of
species as indicated by reliable data, not opinion. While many
think of this bill as an • • ending," it is actually only a
"beginning." The act will require continual monitoring.
Oh, the care free days of the seventies when we had no bill,
and what seemed an endless variety of birds at reasonable
prices to choose from. Aviculture has changed. Those days are
no more. The irresponsible importation of birds in unthinkable
numbers and the historic lack of any United States policy
regarding same created a ploughed head attitude into an
atmosphere of lawsuits to protect lobsters from the trauma of
the cookpot (CITES had always relied upon but it seldom
actually worked). Many individuals believe that human life is
considered equal in value to that of the other animals that share
our planet. Of course, it's speculative as to what aviculture will
look like in the next ten or 20 years. Certainly, the next few
years will determine whether a number of species continue to
be represented in captivity.
The current economic "slowdown" will undoubtedly play a
major part with individuals and their decisions as to what
species to work with in a captive environment. It is
unfortunate, but a fact of life, that a large portion of
aviculturists must derive some revenue from their birds. This
activity is a double edged sword. First, species representation
will be dictated by the pet value of the species. Few people will
choose to breed species that bring a low sales price. Second,
aviculturists are selling a large portion of the offspring they
produce. Given the lack of imports, selling all your progeny
leaves you in an awkward position when you need new
breeding stock. Finding good breeding stock will be increasingly
more difficult. As they say, '• If they are such good
breeders, why are you selling them?" Many aviculturists have
created a compromise situation where their "bread and butter"
birds are domesticated species, principally cockatiels, so Jess
reliance is made upon selling the offspring of their more rare
species. Another situation that has the potential to maintain a
number of species is that of the bird club breeding consortium. 

Clubs around the country are devoting energy to establishing
species through intraclub breeding loans. The common denominator
to all programs is that the breeding effort must be
managed to maximize genetic variability.
With the coming implementation of the exotic bird act, AFA
is readying itself to meet the challenge of managing nondomesticated
species populations. A full array of open and
closed bands is now available from our business office in any
quantity. Our Red Siskin program is serving as an effective
model as to what can be achieved within the avicultural
community. Finally, we hope to have a full-time employee,
within the coming months, who will devote total energy to
assisting clubs with consortiums and enhancing AFA's own
efforts. The bottom line is, however, that interest in maintaining
a large number of species in captivity must come from the
aviculturists themselves. I suggest that every member take a
critical look at his/her collection and answer the following
1. Are you maintaining unpaired specimens of nondomesticated
2. Are you selling all the progeny from certain pairs of
non-domesticated species?
3. Do you band or micro-chip progeny and maintain
genealogical infonnation permanently?
Finally, is there a species that you feel should be receiving
more concentrated attention from the avicultural community?
I'd like to hear from you. Please seriously consider dropping
me a note by writing: AFA, 999 E. Basse Road, Suite 180-164,
San Antonio, TX 78209 or telephone (210) 828-5306. I'm
looking forward to hearing from you. •