Breeding Laws – Hybrid Breeding Ban

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Q: Have you heard about the new additions to the New Jersey bird law? They ban the production of hybrids within the state. Previous legislation made it necessary to obtain a permit to keep birds either as pets or as breeders. This is similar to the requirements for dogs in most states. New Jersey has now added a regulation that would make the production of hybrid birds cause the revocation of this permit.

I have a friend who has a pet dusky conure and a jenday conure in the same cage. They bonded, and the dusky would begin mutilating itself if separated from the jenday. Since this woman’s primary goal was to make her feathered friends happy, she allowed them to live in the same cage together.

Before too long, the female went to the bottom of the cage, laid some eggs and began to sit on them. After realizing that they were determined to breed no matter what the conditions, she gave them a nest box, and in a short time they had a few babies. She sold the babies to individuals who knew they were hybrids and agreed never to use the birds for breeding.

The New Jersey wildlife police found out about this and claimed she was committing a horrible act that was similar to breeding a chimpanzee to a human. She was ordered to split up the pair or face the loss of her permit and the confiscation of her cherished friends. Rather than lose her birds, she has split them up. She watches as her birds, who will not accept mates of their own species, tear out their feathers in frustration. These are common birds that by no means are endangered!

I have always been against hybridization as a purposeful endeavor, but surely in cases like this, no harm can be caused. Don’t you think that this law has gone a bit too far?

A: This “law” is one of the greatest infringements on personal rights to have ever been enacted against aviculturists. What almost everyone does not realize is that this is not a hybrid issue. Under the disguise of an anti-hybrid stand, the New Jersey official that has pushed through these amendments to the existing New Jersey bird laws has set a precedent that can be used to take away the rights of anyone to keep birds. The precedent that it sets is the idea that the State’s desire to “protect” blood lines supersedes the individual rights of its citizens.

Never before in the history of our country has the suggestion that the State has the right to pass legislation concerning the mixing of bloodlines been considered constitutionally possible. In fact, the entire concept strikes a blow at the very foundation of our free society. Any society that allows such repressive legislation to stand, regardless of how noble its original intent, is arming a bomb that will one day blow up in its face.

Once a citizenry accepts the concept that the State has the right to dictate what bloodlines are legally permitted to mix, it has marked the beginning of the end of many of its freedoms.

This concept is at its best ludicrous and at its worst a complete horror. At the least, those that are purists concerning the breeding of dogs would push to include the prohibition of mixing breeds. They would be supported by some of the powerful organizations that are already pushing for a moratorium against the breeding of dogs and cats, due to their perception of an overpopulation. This would eliminate the creation of new breeds like the popular cockapoo. Can you imagine the criminalization of two neighbors who allowed their respective poodle and cocker spaniel to breed? On the extreme serious side, there would be those organizations that would push to ban interracial marriages. Anyone who believes that such things cannot happen in an intelligent society is forgetting the lessons that history teaches (remember that the same concept was applied in Nazi Germany).

Along with the amendment that prohibits the production of hybrids, there is also an amendment that states past amateur attempts at the production of Appendix I species (endangered species) is not sufficient criteria for the issuance of a permit to keep such a species. This gives state officials the right to, at any time, consider your attempts to produce endangered species as amateurish, or revoke or refuse to issue you a permit and confiscate your birds. Sound far fetched? Not at all. In fact, it almost happened. A man who is arguably one of the foremost breeders of black-hooded red siskins was refused a permit by the New Jersey officials.

Despite the fact that he was one of the leaders in this field for many years, an official decided that since he was not a member of the breeding group recognized by the AFA, he would not be issued a permit. This was not the work of the AFA. In fact, the AFA has become an organization that fights for the rights of breeders regardless of whether or not they are members of their “recognized” breeding programs. This was an arbitrary decision by a government official that permits would not be issued to anyone who did not join the program that he wished to promote. In order to keep his birds from being confiscated, the man was forced to affiliate with the AFA affiliated program.

Consider the fact that there are many wildlife organizations that are pushing to have the federal government place all species that are listed by international treaty as Appendix I to be listed in our Federal Register as endangered. This would, under present New Jersey regulations, allow the confiscation of scarlet, military and Buffon’s macaws.

Consider the fact that all psittacines are now listed under international treaty as Appendix II (threatened) and many powerful wildlife organizations are pushing to have all Appendix II listings moved up to Appendix I. This would allow government confiscation of most of the parrots in New Jersey.

Your rights to keep birds have been severely threatened. Join a national bird organization and demand they take this on as a national issue. Write to your state senator and demand an investigation of the flagrant violation of your personal rights. Inaction now might cause the confiscation of your birds later!