From the Editor's Desk

Sheldon Dingle


Dear Sheldon,

As the convention draws near I am faced with the problem of farming out baby African greys and macaws to family and friends for hand feeding so that my wife might accompany me. I wonder how many others must cope with this problem. The solution for us in the past five years has been to miss two conventions entirely and for me to attend two by myself. My wife and I were able to go to San Diego together.

It seems to me that the August tradition for the convention was very logical in the early days of AFA when the membership was mostly canary and budgie people. But I suspect that now the membership is more balanced.

I would like tO suggest that the membership at large be asked when and in what part of the country would they like their convention to be held. Perhaps a review of the numbers attending each of the last five conventions would offer some clues. Compare San Diego and Chicago and Washington, D.C. with Florida.

To me the highlight of the San Diego convention was the bird tours and the trip tO Birds Unlimited and last year the opportunity tO visit Parrot Jungle, Life Fellowship, and the birds at Busch Gardens was the frosting on the cake.

In closing, my vote would be for the convention to be held in February. Alternating between 3 or 4 cities that could provide bird tours with an emphasis on how-to information. Thanks,

John Gibson,

Tiller, Oregon

I am in hearty agreement with your concern about the location and time-of yearoftheAFA conventions. !tis hard to determine the best time of year to visit large collections of birds. Many breeders would be hesitant to allow convention traffic through their facilities in February just when most birds are serious about nesting August, for many reasons, including lousy weather, seems an equally dismal time of year: I think I would opt for a fall month but then we would compete with other organizations' conventions.

There is a questionnaire on the insert in this issue which should provide a medium for the general membership to voice its opinions. Please respond and the data can be used by the AFA leadership to plan future conventions.


Dear Mr. Dingle,

I would like the opportunity to address two issues. The first is the outrageous destruction of Ms. Coleman's birds. I see no reason why the exposed birds should not have been put into a quarantine situation to see if they, indeed, had contracted the disease. Then, if any birds fell ill, yes, they should be mercifully destroyed. Although the pain is still there, at least there is some sanity and justification involved.

A friend of mine once had to have her horse destroyed in a somewhat similar bizarre event. The animal was diagnosed with a positive Coggins test. This rest is for Equine Infectious Anemia, a contagious blood disease transmitted by flies and m osquitos. Many states require the rest for show, race and other events where horses come together.

When the horse showed positive, all the stable was put in a quarantine situation (i.e. no one could transport a horse in or out). Tests were run on all the horses, including a second test on the positive individual. No other horse was positive. How could all the other horses have lived in such proximity without contracting the disease? Why didn't the affected horse show any signs of the EIA7

Vets speculated the horse was a ''carrier,'' harboring the disease yet unable to transmit it. Even though the horse was in good health there was no questioning the regulations regarding the positive Coggins and the horse was taken away for "disposal'.' I will never forget how my friend looked during the week when all this was going on. It made no sense but at least the animal and other exposed animals were given a chance.

We all know the import/export laws governing animal health are important. Sometimes they are strict to the common man's standards, but is an epidemic worth the risks of waiving laws? I expect we will see many articles regarding animal exports and imports as the 1988 Olympics in Korea grow nearer. Many of the equestrian teams will be allowed to enter the country, but there are some who, due to their country's strict laws, will be unable to return their horses home following the competition. Horsemen are hoping the officials will relocate the equestrian events before any international incidents can develop.

So, as you can see, every animal industry has its wild tangle of red tape and, yes, it is all necessary. We do not need new rules, laws, regulations, etc. God knows there are already enough. What we need is better management by the officials to ensure that the laws are delegated humanely and justly to both man and beast! No, we can't spare a pet budgie if it has Newcastle disease nor a child's pony if it contracts EIA but we can treat the animals and owners with a little dignity instead of the way Ms. Coleman and her birds were treated!

I also wanted to say I am sick of people who write to magazines, not only the \.Vatchbird, complaining of content. Whine, whine, whine! Either it is too technical, not technical, too many stories, not enough; I have seen it all! What in the world do all of you want' I have a simple explanation to people who are unhappy with a magazine's content. First, write an intelligible letter to the editor expressing what you as a reader would like to see; no need to be hateful. If you really hate the magazine, cancel your subscription and don't get yourself all worked up. Or get off your fat patootie and write an article drawing on your own vast wealth of knowledge! It takes a lot of effort and time to write an article so, before criticizing, try it yourself! I like the \.Vatchbird; I don't understand every concept but consider it a challenge to try and figure some of it out and, heck, if I don't understand any of it I'll look at the pictures, dammit'

Teresa D. Ralenkotter

2708 Wesley Drive

Villa Hills, KY 41017 •


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