Guidelines and ethical considerations for housing and management of psittacine birds used in research
The Psittaciformes are a large order of landbirds comprising over 350 species in about 83 genera. In 2009, 141 published studies implicated parrots as research subjects; in 31 of these studies, 483 individuals from 45 different species could be considered laboratory animals.
Amazons and budgerigars were by far the most represented psittacine species. The laboratory research topics were categorized as either veterinary medicine and diagnostics (bacteriology, hematology, morphology, and reproduction; 45%) or behavioral and sensory studies (behavior, acoustics, and vision; 17%). Confinement of psittacine species for research purposes is a matter of concern as scientifically based species-specific housing guidelines are scarce. The aim of this article is to provide scientific information relevant to the laboratory confinement of Psittaciformes to promote the refinement of acquisition, housing, and maintenance practices of these birds as laboratory animals. We briefly discuss systematics, geographical distribution, legislation, and conservation status as background information on laboratory parrot confinement. The following section presents welfare concerns related to captive containment (including domestication status) and psittacine cognition. We then discuss considerations in the acquisition of laboratory parrots and review important management issues such as nutrition, zoonoses, housing, and environmental enrichment. The final section reviews indications of distress and compromised welfare.
Title: Guidelines and ethical considerations for housing and management of psittacine birds used in research.
Authors: Kalmar ID, Janssens GP, Moons CP
Source: ILAR Journal, 2010, volume 51, issue 4