Buying a Bird
In Victoria, most birds can only be sold from a private residence or a registered pet shop, with the exception of some natives.
The sale of caged birds, dogs, cats, mice, reptiles, rabbits and guinea pigs is regulated under the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (the Act) and the Code of Practice for the Operation of Pet Shops (Code of Practice).
Under the Act, caged birds, cats, dogs, mice, rabbits, guinea pigs, and reptiles can only be sold from a private residence or a registered pet shop. The Act requires that a 'pet shop' must be located in a permanent location, and open not less than five days a week (excluding public holidays).
The day-to-day responsibility for the enforcement of the Act and Code of Practice, including associated regulations and mandatory codes of practice, rests with local government.
The Act makes it an offence to sell a caged bird (or any other species listed in the Act or the Domestic Animal Regulations 2005) from a place other than a private residence or a pet shop, unless the bird is exempt under the Wildlife Act 1975 amnesty. This amnesty for specified species of native Australian birds has been established in conjunction with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP). However, exotics have never been included in the amnesty and therefore the sale of exotic species from bird sales has been a long-standing contravention of the Act.
The current legislation was introduced in 1994 in response to the broad and unregulated sales of many types of animals, caged birds included, from flea markets, car boot sales and other unsatisfactory situations. Animal welfare for these animals was in many cases completely unacceptable, confined to small cages without appropriate food or water, while waiting to be sold.
It was recently brought to the attention of biosecurity officers at the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources that large bird sales were being held at various locations around Victoria.
Staff from the department have contacted organisers of the bird sales to discuss their legislative requirements. Organisers of the sales have taken action to stop the illegal sale of exotic species at the sales by introducing an expressions of interest system instead.