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Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.

Heidi Fleiss: From the Bedroom to the Boardroom

Written by PETA | June 16, 2009
usatoday / CC
Heidi Fleiss

Former “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss knows what it’s like to be behind bars—and ever since she inherited dozens of exotic birds from an acquaintance who passed away, she’s learned firsthand that humans aren’t the only ones whose needs aren’t met in captivity.

Heidi was fortunate enough to be able to turn part of her home into a huge aviary where her birds can fly free and are never caged, but as she points out, most people who buy birds have no idea how to care for these complex animals. Many people keep birds caged for their entire lives—some birds are kept in cages so small that they are prevented from even stretching their wings, let alone flying.

That’s why Heidi is teaming up with PETA to pressure one major purveyor of imprisoned parrots: PetSmart. She’ll be speaking on PETA’s behalf at PetSmart’s annual meeting this Wednesday. Pointing out how much birds suffer in captivity as well as the abysmal record of neglect and abuse by PetSmart’s stores and animal suppliers, Heidi will ask the company to begin phasing out the sale of all birds.

Go get ‘em, Heidi! We know you’re an expert at turning heads—now let’s see you change some minds.

Written by Amanda Schinke

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  • Lindsay says:

    Heidi it looks as if you “get” birds. We live with Sophie a delightful African Grey parrot who has the run of the house a good part of her waking hours and is a gentle and good natured friend to us. Because we’re involved with a pet bird we see or hear of way too many heartbreaking situations where birds live with people who keep them not as companions but as decorations or personal mascots or for some other reason and we’ve been made aware that the pet bird trade is probably the closest thing in modern times to the slave trade. Birds especially parrots aren’t easy pets. They’re highly intelligent and can be devoted friends. But like children they’re smarter than and they require far more attention than a dog or a cat. We obtained Sophie directly from a breeder a very birdsavvy lady who loves animals of all kinds and has won awards for her birds which are raised showing fewer signs of stress than the birds from most other breeders. Don’t ever buy a bird from a pet store. Find a breeder who will vet you the same way an adoption agency vets you before you adopt a child. Parrots can be incredible devoted companions but they are also among the most vulnerable and easily abused of all animals kept as human companions.

  • KEITH says:

    HEIDI WHAT A PRETTY LADY U ARE . HOWEVER IN THIS WORLD OF EVIL HURT WOULD U HURT ME?? I AN 6’3 .. LOVE U SWEETY!!!! IF WHEN I AM IN THE WOODS EVERY ANIMAL WALKS TALKS TO ME I KNOW THEIR LINGO I AM A APOSTLE JESUS MAS BLESSED ME TO A GREAT EXTENSION L U I KN0W THESE THINGS ARE HARd to believe yet U should. REMEMBER ME….???

  • starman12 says:

    thanks for all U have done.. HOWEVER I KNOW YOUR INTENSIONS ARE MOST HONORABLE!!!! THANKS AGAIN GOD BLESS THE WONDERFUL PEOPLE IN THIS EVIL WORLD

  • keith says:

    HEIDI? THANKS FOR ALL U ARE DOING FOR THE WORLD ALL MANKIND MEN ETC.!!!!!

  • Genie Massey says:

    Please do what you can to help save the lives of the birds and other animals Heidi. Way to go!!!

  • Genie says:

    SHUT RAINBOW DOWN!

  • melissa says:

    I feel helpless because my mom isn’t letting me.SOME people can be so creul!!!but only SOME people are creulnot everyone.

  • Ty says:

    She is great I have a cockatiel and boy is it enough work. His wings are clipped though so the dogs cant get him!

  • Nan says:

    My parakeet was fine ’til 4 weeks ago. Had her for 5 yrs. Began sleep often breath fast lost weight. Took her to VET. Did fecal blood test. Nothing but gave 10 days Enrofloxacin .1 ml BID 12 hrs. then she seemed fine. Within a week she was dead. I noticed the sleeping less eating but overnight so began RX H2O to make sure not dehydrated began eating. Her cage cleaned of feces daily all surfaces every 2 days soap water dried perches mirrors toys water cleaned daily. Floor cage wire kind over bottom so never walked in debris. Flew to perch in 1 window daily usual 2x a day fly around room. I had her cage up while out but 1 day could not get her in before appoint. Maybe chewed plant but she never ate the plant. Found bits of plant. She chewed like always just to shred it. Removed plant. She liked greens mostly seeds from peas green beans lettuces.Vitamins in water daily. Water cleaned if pooped in. Zupreem food. Never in draft at night. It has been very humid longer than most years due to more rain all spring summer. August 1st mo. normal rain still humid. Wonder if humidity made her worse. Extra cleaning of mold areas needed this yr. Lost Garden tomatoes. Never before. I washed my hands before touching Sylvester Dave’s Pet said she was male. Wrong even if just hopped to my finger 1 min. Always washed hands since I know that’s how diseases are transmitted. Did I forget 1x ? Don’t know. ‘Cause always washed my hands. VET thinks she was older than Dave’s Pet store said. Even if she was 6 yrs old too soon to die. What else could I have done? She was my comic relief. Smart. Learned words. Called me Sweetie. What did I do? Sang. She loved Bruce Springstein Nora Jonesjazz. She was beautiful. Sweet fresh silly. Happy. She had a little laugh when playful. What else could I have done? I love Sylvester.

  • petsmart says:

    Hi my name is kailey and i joined here about a year ago.. i am an employee of an iowan petsmart. i would never work at a place where animals are mistreated. it sickens me how the petsmarts u have investagated treat their animals..the petsmart i work at i work in petcare.. all of our animals get medical treatment no matter what they are taken to the vet and always get their medicine. i come in on my days off so that they animals can be taken to the vet as well as others and when they need to go to the vet associates do it on their lunch breaks too and come first thing in the mornings.. the only time they are not able to go to the vet is when they are closed.whenever an animal is in need of help they get the attention they need. I hate to have people think that all petsmarts are like that.. we dont sell dogs cats rabbits or ferrets because of the high rates in the shelters. we space our litters out according to how much we receive we never overcrowd our small animals.. Im not saying that that petsmart you guys investigated aint bad but i am saying the one i work at isnt like that..i know because i am one of the people to take care of the animals..and i would do anything for the best treatment of the animals..if i see something i dont like then i will speak up..

  • kelly says:

    Great! It is nice to see Heidi’s heart of gold. I always thought she was selfish and egotistical but it looks like she has compassion and isn’t afraid to speak out. However the number one buyer of all animals from breeding mills is Petland. They are the worst and I wish they could be addressed.

  • Ella says:

    It’s great to know that there are people like Heidi out there! Go Girl!

  • Carla says:

    Wow thats awesome!! Way to go Heidi!!