An Ethical and Safe Bird Store Policy, Part Three
January 20, 2012 § 3 Comments
This entry is the third and final installation in a short series on what it means to have an ethical and safe bird store policy. To read the introduction and part one on materials used and types of products sold, click here. To read part two on the prevention of the spread of avian disease, click here.
The third aspect of my policy is ethics in terms of integrity and business practices. To be honest, I’m a little bit surprised and disappointed that I even have to write about this topic. A year or two ago, it probably wouldn’t have gotten its own entry. But more and more I see unscrupulous business practices happening, and there are many types.
But what is integrity? It can be defined as a firm adherence to a code of moral or artistic values. I think that both moral and artistic play a role when it comes to being a bird store owner. There are things that should be done simply on a moral ground and there are things that should be done out of respect for another’s artistic license and intellectual property.
I’ll begin with the moral side. A lot of what I discussed in parts one and two, in fact, fall under this moral category. A store that has a sense of moral integrity is a store that makes a commitment to selling only safe products and selling them in a bird-safe way, minimizing the risk of spreading avian diseases.
Since I’ve already discussed those ideas in full, I will move on to the artistic side of integrity. One of the most common violations I see lately is in terms of intellectual property and copycat products and toys. If you read this blog, you know that I (and so many other bird owners) really prize original, unique, and innovative products, especially in a market where so many toy designs are just more of the same. I love vendors that take pride in their work and dedicate themselves to creating very unique and personal products, inspired by their own flocks, their job or life experiences, or even their own natural surroundings and geographic location. Thus, it is so disappointing to me when I see vendors deliberately copying each other’s toys.
With a lot of bird toys, there is only so much that you can call your “own,” and I understand that. Can you really claim that you came up with the idea of stringing certain toy parts on a certain type of rope? Probably not. It’s easy to think of several toys from several vendors that all look quite similar. But I think that there can be very clear violations. If a vendor has a particular “style” or a particular toy that is extremely unique on the market, and it is something hand made, that’s when it saddens me to see that vendors do not have the integrity not to steal another person’s designs. So many wonderful vendors are hobby-based toymakers who really pour themselves into making bird toys not for profit, but rather for a genuine love of birds. And to me, it is easy to tell which vendors these are based on the wonderfully unique and innovative designs they create: there is so much joy and livelihood and personality in each and every single toy. To steal or to copy another’s unique toy creation is to steal the very joy, livelihood, and personality that is imbued in each design.
Personally, I always choose to support the original creators of each toy design out of respect for their intellectual property and creativity, and out of a sense of integrity. I hope that others will support creativity and innovation, and choose to do the same as well.