Cockatoo Cee Lo Green has come under fire for his latest display of pet pride. Animal rights activists have wisely criticized The Voice judge for his intention to bring a Moluccan cockatoo named Lady onto the NBC talent competition show.
Cee Lo recently announced that he would replace the pet cat Purrfect -- who sat on his lap throughout season two -- with a Moluccan cockatoo on his shoulder for season three. However, Moluccan cockatoos are endangered and do not make good pets, therefore promoting them as a cuddly companion will send a terrible message to the masses.
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Monica Engrebretson, a rep for the animal rights organization Born Free, explained, "Moluccan cockatoos are beautiful, intelligent animals but they are very challenging to care for especially in the long term, and are prone to considerable welfare problems. Many Moluccan cockatoos develop self-destructive behavior including feather plucking and self mutilation not known to occur in the wild." "Many parrot rescues are already filled to capacity with moluccans and other large parrots,"
Monica added. "I encourage 'The Voice' to reconsider featuring a moluccan cockatoo or any bird as a 'pet' on the show and instead promote a more appropriate companion animal such as a dog. Even better, they could feature a rescue dog or a dog in need of a home."
Do Birds Make Good Pets?
If you're under the impression that Cockatoos in general are a popular companion bird, you're right -- but Moluccans are a different story. Their personalities are commonly described as "reserved" and considered on the opposite end of the spectrum than comical and playful variations like that of the corella. Among the most common disorders of Cockatoos are behavioral issues like screaming and biting -- as well as the feather plucking and self mutilation that Born Free referenced.
If you're considering getting a bird, you're not alone -- approximately 16 million birds live in 6 percent of U.S. households, according to the American Pet Product Manufacturers Association. But before buying or adopting a pet bird, experts recommend asking yourself these aviary-minded questions first to determine if you can wing it as a bird owner.
What's the best breed for your needs?
For starters, it's important to determine what aspect of having a bird is most important to you, said Nancy Peterson, issues specialist with The Humane Society of the United States, based in Washington, D.C. "Canaries and finches are known for their song, color and activity," Peterson said. "A cockatiel may be more suitable if you want a companion bird. If you want a talker, consider a parakeet." Kristin L. Nelson, DVM, of Scottsdale, Ariz., doesn't recommend birds for children under age six because of potential injury to the bird or to the child.
Can you afford all that's required?
Aside from the fee to purchase or adopt a bird, you'll need to buy a cage as large as you can accommodate, quality food and supplements, supplies and bird toys, veterinary care and more, Peterson said. These combined costs can run into hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year, depending on the breed and health of the bird.
Are you ready to be a responsible caregiver?
"Caring for birds can be very different and slightly more challenging than caring for a dog or cat," Miller said. "By nature, birds are incredibly active and flight driven. Captivity can sometimes alter these behaviors, but instinctively birds tend to demand constant attention, mental stimulation and life-long companionships."
Can you keep your bird healthy and safe?
It's essential to learn the symptoms of a sick bird and to "find a veterinarian who specializes in avian medicine," Peterson said. And for their own safety, "birds need to be protected from wind, cats, dogs, vandals, the sun and diseases that can be transmitted by wild birds." Also, a bird may not be a good choice if you have other pets that could taunt or scare the animal.
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