One major focus of Legislative Rights for Parrots is proposing and responding to laws and regulations at the Federal and State level. The materials below are provided to help you understand the processes involved. If you are interested in drafting your own proposals you may find this information useful, and we urge you to contact us for further assistance. If you are interested in joining our letter-writing campaigns, Volunteer With Us!
While only members of Congress can introduce new bills for consideration, anyone can write a proposal for a legislative law or amendment. Once written, the proposal needs to be presented to legislators to determine who might be interested in introducing the bill to begin the Legislative Law process.
Administrative laws, also called regulations, can also be requested by members of the public. Usually this is done by submitting a petition to the appropriate government agency. If the agency recognizes the need for a new regulation to address the problem(s) noted in the petition, they will draft a proposal and begin the Administrative Law process.
For more information on how these two different systems for creating new laws function, see Understanding U.S. Law.
Drafting legislative proposals requires very precise language and the usage of a standardized format. The content of the bill must list the general rule (what the law is intended to do), followed by any exceptions, special rules, other provisions, specific definitions to be used, and so on. There are a number of sources available for learning how to properly format such a proposal, but the most complete resource is the House Office of the Legislative Counsel's Guide to Legislative Drafting.
For those who would like a simpler primer to the process, there is also a Quick Guide to Legislative Drafting, which makes an excellent easy reference while drafting a new law.
Here's an example of what such a proposal might look like:
Title of Bill: An Act To Set a Standard of Care for Pet and Commercial Birds
Be It Enacted By
1 Preamble: WHEREAS numerous birds are not kept in healthful conditions in non-profit rescue,
2 governmentally run animal shelter or sanctuary, due to the lack of knowledge of proper care as
3 outlined Standard of Care for pet and commercial birds; WHEREAS, any nonprofit rescue,
4 governmentally run shelter or sanctuary shall meet environmental conditions, diet, mental and physical
5 health, disease testing and quarantine procedures, weaning of baby birds and maintenance of records;
6 WHEREAS, there are no federal standards set forth for the protection of pet or commercial birds as
7 defined in 9 CFR§ 93.100; WHEREAS there are no set standards protecting birds on the U.S. Fish and
8 Wildlife Service Endangered species bred in the U.S. regarding the sale of the age of hatched birds and
9 weanlings. WHEREAS, numerous pet and commercial birds on the Endangered species list are in ill
10 health, carriers of disease capable of harming other birds and human health due to the lack of Standard
11 of Care. WHEREAS, approval of the Standard of Care for pet and commercial birds will require any
12 and all nonprofit entities and businesses under IRS laws to register their intent for the sales, rehoming
13 and purchases of birds.
15 Section 1: Legislative Rights for Parrots will gain additional support from numerous State Senators to
16 support the Bill for the Standard of Care for pet and commercial birds for approval at the Federal
17 Level by January 2020.
19 Section 2: There is no request for financial support for the adoption of the bill titled Standard of Care
20 for pet and commercial birds. The proposal sets standards in the care for pet and commercial birds
21 under Administrative law. This sets forth a minimum of care for additional bills to refer to regarding
22 neglect and abuse of pet and commercial birds.
24 Section 3: Once the Act is approved, facilities have six months to comply after January 2020
Legislative Rights for Parrots has proposed a bill on Standards of Care for breeders, pet stores, rescues, and sanctuaries. You can find the full text of that proposal here.
All of the information above applies to Legislative Law, the process for new laws to be approved by Congress. When it comes to Administrative Law, or regulations, the process begins with a petition to the governing agency. For example, the United States Department of Agriculture governs the regulations on both pet and farm animals. To propose new regulations promoting the welfare of parrots, one would address a petition the USDA, explaining the issues currently negatively impacting parrots and their owners, as well as possible solutions.
Once a new regulation is formally proposed by the governing agency, it is published in the Federal Register for review by all interested parties, including the public. The Federal Register also publishes a guide on how regulations are researched, written, and formatted. This information can be very helpful in reading and understanding administrative laws. There is always a public comment period following publication, during which time anyone may submit any concerns they have with the regulation so it can be revised to avoid unintentional negative impacts.
This administrative law process is both less direct and often more complicated than proposing a legislative law. The language involved in writing regulations is also extremely precise and relies heavily on the use of Terms of Art: words with specific meanings in a legal context.
For more information or assistance with the process of petitioning for, understanding, or responding to proposed regulations, please Contact Us. We will be more than happy to provide guidance.
Of course, drafting bills is only one way to help. Contacting legislators to make your voice heard is critical to ensuring that our laws protect the welfare of parrots. This can take the form of phone calls, personal visits, and the time-honored tradition of letter writing. Though they may be submitted electronically these days, a well-written letter encouraging adoption of a new law or discouraging harmful amendments to existing statutes makes certain that your legislator is familiar with what their constituents want and need.
Here is an example of a letter written to discourage passing the amendments to the Lacey Act that were hidden in the America Competes Act of 2022:
I am lover of parrots and support Legislative Rights for Parrot’s work in promoting parrot welfare. We support birds and partner with others who are doing good for the sake of parrots. It has been brought to our attention that there is a bill called American Competes Act of 2022 (H. R 4521) in which the Lacey Act (16 USC 3371 - 3378) was dog eared. In this 2,915-page bill, there is one tiny section about the Lacey Act. H.R. 4521 expansion of the Lacey Act would protect only the rights of domesticated pets, defined as dogs and cats, and traditional farm animals.
This expansion of the Lacey Act states that birds will not be able to travel across state lines and could deny ownership all together. This would create a major impact on bird owners, rescues, sanctuaries, military veterans, businesses, and others. How this expansion could cause serious harm to birds:
1. Individuals and rescues won't be able to take in birds from outside their state, whether from a person in need of help or transfer from another rescue.
2. Owners’ wills designating where the parrot(s) should go after death would be denied if the bird(s) would have to cross state lines to reach their new homes.
3. Military personnel will be highly impacted due to moving from base to base and likely required to relinquish their parrot. It is important to know that parrots have been used as emotional support animals for military personnel, so relinquishment could have serious emotional impacts.
4. A limited number of veterinarians are avian specialists; therefore, is it not uncommon for owners, rescues, and sanctuaries to travel across state lines to get appropriate care for a parrot. Moreover, certain emergency or specialized surgeries are only performed by one or two avian veterinarians in the country.
5. In cases of natural disaster such as fire, flooding, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. in which individuals are told to evacuate their homes, they may have to cross state lines to reach safety and shelter. Since the Lacey Act allows no exception, these individuals will be required to leave their animal behind to die or face criminal charges for illegal transport.
6. It is common for rescues and sanctuaries to hold fundraisers to provide for birds in care or for medical procedural needs for the wellbeing of the parrot. Such events taking place at bird fairs, educational presentations, school functions, etc. may require the birds to cross state lines. These travel restrictions would thus greatly reduce opportunities for such fundraising.
7. H. R 4521 is about commerce and the United States competing in the global market. However, allowing this expansion of the Lacey Act would shut down an entire pet industry that revolves not only around parrots, but other exotic pets such as sugar gliders, hamsters, ferrets, turtles, and potbellied pigs.
8. The expansion of the Lacey Act could lead to unscientific, prejudicial placement of animals, including some parrots, on a ban list that restricts ownership. This type of banning already occurs elsewhere. Quaker (monk) parakeets have been banned or restricted in ownership based on a lie regarding the destruction of crops in Argentina, which has long ago been debunked.
There is a great chance these amendments will pass, as they are dog eared into a bill that promotes investment in technology, economic growth, and other beneficial social programs. We ask you to stand up for these endangered companion pets, owners, rescues, sanctuaries, and the parrot business community. Senator, I, along with Legislative Right for Parrots, implore you to vote nay on this bill.
Legislative Rights for Parrots is a non-partisan 501(c)(3) organization. We will not support any party or politician that harms parrots. Legislative Right for Parrots is registered in NV but works in numerous states, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Spain to support the welfare of both pet and wild parrots.
Letter-writing campaigns can be extremely effective, especially when coordinated to show that many citizens share the same concerns. Legislative Rights for Parrots strives to keep all parrot owners and other interested parties up to date on the laws that affect parrot welfare via our education programs, social media, and rescue partnerships, but the best way to get involved is by joining us as a Volunteer. This way, we can present a united front and make it clear to our representatives that we support sensible, well-considered laws and regulations that promote the wellbeing of parrots, parrot owners, rescues, and ethical parrot breeders and pet dealers.
State and Local Laws
The information outlined above applies to federal law and regulations within the United States. The processes for proposing and commenting on state and local laws may vary.
If you have concerns about or wish to see changes made in the laws of your state, county, or city, please Contact Us for assistance. We will do our best to guide you to the correct resources for your area.