Why do aviculturists need an industry organization?

Is OPA a professional or a trade organization?

Both!

Trade organizations protect the members' source of livelihood. They determine who is qualified to practice the trade, usually based on achievements by completing levels of expertise ranging from novice to master. Most aviculturists have a mentor at some point in their careers. Many begin breeding birds as an involving hobby and later realize it is their vocation. Some breed other animals before finally settling on aviculture. In some ways aviculture more closely resembles a trade than a profession, especially considering that at present no college or university in the United States offers a degree program for the aviculturist. Programs for zoology, ornithology, agriculture, wildlife management, or even veterinary medicine do not adequately cover the skills required of the exotic bird breeder.

Professional organizations define ethical values, develop practical standards, and acknowledge proficiency and special achievements within the field. When they are acknowledged by state governments, professional organizations may be responsible for the licensing of practitioners in order to protect both the profession and the public.

What is a professional aviculturist?

A professional aviculturist maintains a bird-breeding facility, practices high standards in avian husbandry, and conducts business according to ethical principles.

Does the OPA set standards for keeping birds?

Through the OPA's voluntary Fellowship Certification program, aviculturists may assess their facilities and practices according to guidelines and requirements prepared by the Fellowship Committee.

The first Fellows Certification Committee will be elected by a vote of the OPA's founding members who currently qualify as Associate Fellows. This Committee will convene to determine OPA's criteria for the Committee itself, and for obtaining Professional Fellowship. Once the Committee structure and approval methods are resolved, the Committee will assume the responsibility of approving the individual Professional Fellows. They will also set the criteria for and approve Honorary, Veteran and Junior Fellows. All criteria and methods are subject to approval by the Board of Directors.

Individual members of the Certification Committee may privately petition the Board of Directors to challenge approvals they believe to be unwarranted, and the Professional Fellows candidates themselves will be entitled to petition the Board for an appeal if their application is rejected. The Board may then make a plea to the Committee on behalf of a candidate or an anonymous committee member, but the Committee is charged with the final determination.

Professional standards for keeping and breeding birds must be flexible to allow for differences in both species and individuals, and to accommodate practices based on climate requirements and other variations. In addition to certifcation of husbandry standards, the Professional Fellow will be required to adhere to principles of humane care, and business ethics.

How does OPA benefit its members and the public as a 501(c)(6) organization?

OPA provides members with resources, information, and leadership, valuable services to benefit the public as well as employers, workers and clients.

Defines a class of business and of workers for recognition by the government, and for the purpose of acquiring benefits.