Editor's letter (April 16 issue)

Is it a coincidence that we have three letters in this week’s Cage & Aviary Birds talking about the price of birds? 
Given the current economic climate, perhaps not. But all our correspondents raise valid issues of concern, not the least George Woods (see our Letter of the Week), who claims that we are selling our birdkeeping heritage down the river – or, to be more precise, to fanciers on the Continent – all in the name of making a quick buck.
The price of birds has always been a thorny topic, because there have always been – and always will be – people in the hobby who don’t do it for the love, but for the money. You may not agree with the idea of treating birds as commodities, but as long as such dealers are not breaking any laws, whether relating to animal welfare or wildlife, then there’s little that can be done. A bird is only worth as much as a person is prepared to pay for it, so if fanciers in mainland Europe are happy to stump up enormous prices for British-bred birds, then good luck to them.
But – and it’s a big but – if the methods being used are dubious (or, as Mr Woods puts it, “disgusting”), then we need to question what’s going on. If readers have thoughts on the issue, or, better still, evidence that laws are being broken, then please let us know. Dodgy dealings in which birds are harmed or badly treated have no place in the hobby, whether here in the UK or abroad.
Finally, on a brighter note, our classified sales executive Wayne Lashley is in training for the London Marathon, to be staged on April 26. He’s raising funds for Action Medical Research, a great charity that funds pioneering medical research. If you’d like to help him reach his ambitious £2,000 target, then please feel free to sponsor him. I am sure he would appreciate the support.