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What do I need to know about tethering birds?

Tethering involves tying an animal to an anchor point for a prolonged period as a means of confinement. Due to the risks of tethering, it is not suitable as a means of long-term confinement.

The RSPCA is opposed to the tethering of birds because of the severe restrictions it places on movement.

Birds need to be given the freedom to move, access water and shelter, and engage in natural behaviours and mentally and physically stimulating activities (e.g., flight). Tethering involves animal welfare risks such as inability to engage in sufficient exercise, interact with companions, and escape climatic extremes and other hazards.

Where birds are kept in captivity, they should have access to a flight aviary or be given regular opportunities to fly in a safe environment.

In some states and territories of Australia, it is illegal to tether a bird – check with your local authority. Some jurisdictions make exemptions for birds of prey/raptors (e.g., eagles, falcons, hawks), despite evidence that tethering can be distressing for these animals [1].

This information is not legal advice. Seek advice from the relevant authority.


[1] Loeb J (2019) Birds of prey should not be tethered. The Veterinary Record 185: 5-5

Also Read

Updated on June 18, 2024

RSPCA Australia believes that captive-bred wild animals should not be kept in a home environment or for companion purposes unless the species has been clearly identified as being suitable for this purpose. It is important that animals living in a home environment can live a good life. This means providing for their physical health and ensuring opportunities to fully express their individual interests and experience good welfare. Inadequate care and husbandry are reported to contribute to common and serious welfare compromises in many captive wild animals living in home environments. For more information see our policy.

The reality is, however, that captive-bred wild animals are kept in home environments despite sometimes not meeting these criteria (e.g., some reptile and bird species). Because of this, the RSPCA has produced these articles on the care and welfare of a variety of commonly kept captive-bred wild animals. The aim is to help people better understand their animals as individuals and provide them with care that keeps them healthy and provides opportunities for positive mental experiences as much as possible in captivity.

Wild animals must not be taken from the wild to be kept as companion animals (pets).

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