An Introduction to MAP – The Model Aviculture Program


The words “A MAP Certified Aviary” are beginning to appear more and more frequently in literature and advertisements for aviaries. The words sound significant, but how many of us know what MAP stands for and what it means? Is MAP important to us and should we care? The answer to the last question is YES! MAP is very important for all of us.

MAP stands for Model Aviculture Program. In order for an aviary to become MAP certified it must follow basic standards and record keeping practices in its facility. This program translates into benefits not only for the birds in their care, but for pet owners and breeders as well.

  • Birds raised in a MAP certified aviary have been raised in a safe and healthy environment. Good practices are used and there is an annual inspection of the facility by a qualified veterinarian. The inspection includes such areas as breeding aviaries, nursery, record-keeping system, food service system, quarantine area and hospital or isolation area. MAP certification is a ‘seal of approval’ which gives buyers confidence and helps the aviary in selling its birds.
  • MAP is a process which enables the avicultural community to be self regulating and thus minimizes the need for involvement of state or government agencies.
  • MAP has also affected regulations in individual states. Many state legislators when informed about MAP, have dropped support of state inspection programs, believing that MAP is a reliable and adequate private sector program which meets the concerns of animal welfare groups and state agencies.
  • MAP certification helps to protect individual aviculturists who are being harassed or threatened by neighbors or local activists.

Excerpts from “The Model Aviculture Program or MAP”

What is MAP?

The Model Aviculture Program or MAP is a voluntary aviary inspection and certification program for aviculturists. MAP is a non-profit service organization, not a private business. It has been in effect nation-wide since 1990…..

What is MAP Based Upon?

The primary focus of the design of MAP was on establishing basic standards for the routine practices of husbandry and record keeping for exotic species. These standards ….. are commonly practiced by most serious bird breeders, bird trainers, and bird curators….. MAP does not require that all systems be identical, but rather that the system in place in each aviary is working well.

The Three Key Elements Of MAP

The first element is the USE OF MODELS OF HUSBANDRY PRACTICES involving the areas of quarantine, safety systems, caging, nutrition, nursery, and record keeping. Models can be applied to a variety of set-ups in avicultural facilities…..

The second key element is the USE OF THE VETERINARIAN AS INSPECTOR. The veterinarian who inspects the bird farm facilities is chosen by the aviculturist. The veterinarian imparts the authority of a state licensed professional to the MAP process, while maintaining the confidentiality of the aviculturist…..

The third key element of the MAP is the USE OF THE CLOSED AVIARY CONCEPT. Avicultural facilities which use this concept have an effective means of disease control. The closed aviary concept provides the aviculturist with a means to secure and maintain flock health, to isolate and control disease outbreaks in flights or in the nursery, and thus to reduce losses and achieve production goals…..

The MAP Was Designed for Flexibility

MAP has been designed to be responsive to the needs of the avicultural community, whether the aviculturist is a beginner with a very small collection or an aviculturist with a large breeding farm or a serious hobbyist with a collection of rare birds. The basic principles that apply to exotic bird care and breeding are the same, whether the facility is a room, a building or outdoor pens or flights…..

MAP Fills The Bill

MAP provides a mechanism whereby the avicultural community can be self regulating, while at the same time avoiding the necessity of involving state or government agencies in the process….. MAP does not ask (breeders) what species are being kept or in what numbers. MAP inspection and certification is about the process and management of the aviary, not about specific species or number of individual birds.

Who Operates MAP?

MAP is supervised by a nine member Board of Directors consisting of five aviculturists and four avian veterinarians who meet bi-annually to review the work of MAP and revise the guidelines or initiate other changes as needed….. Recently the MAP Board has established an Advisory Board consisting of prominent aviculturists and avian veterinarians from across the U.S…..

A MAP For the Future of Aviculture in the U.S.

The MAP has been endorsed by the Board of Directors of the American Federation of Aviculture as a viable program for inspection and certification by aviculturists. MAP has the active support of several major zoos, including the San Diego Zoo, which only permits the sale of surplus zoo birds to private sector individuals who are certified MAP participants. MAP has been presented to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Management Authority, as a private sector organization designed to improve captive breeding of birds in the U.S. MAP has been presented to the U.S. Department of Agriculture as a viable means of self regulation by the avicultural community. The MAP Board of Directors has shared with the Canadian and Australian avicultural communities the basic plan to use and modify according to their needs. The avicultural community in Canada is in the process of establishing their own MAP program.

Why Do We Need MAP?

For the past fifteen years rules and regulations on a local, state and national level have been considered and proposed by officials, often at the request of animal welfare proponents or animal rights activists….. there is a strong movement to regulate the pet bird industry. Since the early eighties animal rights groups have attempted to ban the importation of wild caught birds into the U.S., to prohibit interstate transportation by air, and to regulate ownership and care of exotic birds within the U.S. When there is a law or regulation in force which deals with aviculture, there will be regulations in association with that law, including permits, fees, licenses, inspections and a definition of legal and illegal activities under those regulations. Sometimes even specific stipulations about the housing and care of exotic birds have been proposed.

Where Has MAP Made A Difference?

MAP has made a difference in individual states where regulations are being considered. Proponents of bills will indicate that there needs to be an inspection program put in place. When legislators are informed about MAP, they are no longer convinced that the state needs to put a program in place because the private sector is providing a program that meets the concerns of animal welfare groups and state agencies. Individual aviculturists who are being harassed or threatened by neighbors or local activists often seek MAP certification to assist them in protecting themselves from harassment…..

What is the MAP Process?

Individuals request … information regarding the program. They are sent a set of MAP Guidelines and instructions on how to prepare for an inspection. Those who are interested in becoming MAP certified send in a completed application along with appropriate fee ($100. For sixteen or more flights, and $50. For fifteen or less flights for the initial inspection)…..

In addition to certification, the plan would provide….. a high profile for breeders with good management practices so that they would find it easier to sell their birds….. For those selling to the pet industry or the general public, certification provides a seal of approval. Certified participants who indicate they want to have publicity will be a part of a list of certified MAP participants publicized to the pet industry

More about MAP here.

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