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Byron Shire
May 9, 2021

Sad Cockatoo

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Thirty years all alone, in a cage, with no enrichment. By day, parked under a shelter by a busy main road. At night, on weekends and public holidays, locked away in a hot, dark car workshop with toxic fumes from chemicals. Alone, forgotten, ignored, a cockatoo named Toyota no longer sings or even talks.

Cockatoos are intelligent, hilarious, playful, exuberant, sometimes enraged, but always needing interaction. Youtube videos show this native Australian bird even dancing wildly to rock music or Elvis or sometimes just imitating dogs barking. But not Toyota.

If you approach his cage he rapidly moves up the cage using his beak and claws to the highest perch as if the approach of a human being strikes terror to his heart. Has he become distrustful of humans who lock him away from everything that is natural for a bird?

It’s possible he has never flown and certainly could not fly in his 1m x 1m x 2m cage. Water is in a rusty metallic container. His diet appears to be chopped carrot, celery and grain with an occasional banksia flower on the floor. His ‘toy’ an old phone book– no swing or mirror.

Murwillumbah is a depressing place to drive through knowing Toyota is suffering needlessly. He could be in a sanctuary or an aviary with other cockatoos, have a varied diet and clean water, feel the rain wash his feathers and the sun warm his body – or maybe have some privacy in a quiet enclosed area. Is it asking too much to have these basic needs met?

Many people have tried for years to get this bird out of this depressing situation. An online petition has over 7,400 signatures.

If you drive by the Hayes Toyota car showroom opposite Budd Park, Murwillumbah, please send up a prayer that his life will get better before his 100-year lifespan ends.


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  1. I agree, this is horrific life for a bird. Unfortunately the RSPCA won’t act on this because the Code of Practice does not include Privately owned birds hence the need for Animal Justice Party and more people to lobby for law reform around pets. The cruelty Acts were last amended in 1979. And Water Shelter and Food is the only law around birds. Never mind the psychological affects like neglect and the suffering of being alone. Who can bare loneliness ? No one right? yet this bird has no one, not even a loving owner. Why on earth would you have a cockatoo then not even take it home and give it some out time of cage time. Such an evil heart who owns this bird. 30 years of hell is enough ! Boycott Toyota Hayes of Muwillumbah. And no he is NOT happy alone and without companionship or the ability to fly..birds have wings for a reason or are humans that self absorbed to not even get that.

  2. I agree with Louise, this bird obviously has cruel and heartless owners and if people are concerned they should boycott Toyota Hayes if they continue to be unresponsive. This is not a good advertisement for their business at all. This is truly needless suffering, and what is the point exactly? Is “owning” this unhappy bird meant to be some kind of pleasure for them? Does anyone benefit from this? Of course not, just the opposite. How would YOU like it? If they did this to you it would be a punishment and a very very long and unforgiving one. But the bird has done nothing to deserve this, please, please, it is time to retire this bird to a sanctuary because it will have forgotten how to be normal for sure.

  3. Poor Toyota spends his whole life incarcerated and as he can see other cockatoos flying around he must wonder what on earth he has done to deserve being treated like that. Any bird that is caged and unable to stretch their wings is beyond cruel, and Toyota being an Australian Native Sulphur Crested Cockatoo makes it even worse. It is the weekend now and he is locked away in the dark until Monday with absolutely nothing, zero, zilch to do. Just imaging being locked in a toilet cubicle, please have some compassion, let Toyota Australia know that this is harming their brand and this sort of treatment of birds needs to be relegated to history.
    He needs to go to a native bird sanctuary where he can have some quality of life.
    You can sign the petition here

  4. Can somebody in the local area please donate a mirror, some colorful toys and a swing? Go and spend some time to talk to Toyota, Sing to him and dance, cocky, dance. He’ll probably freak out a little at first but if he gets a constant stream of bird-loving friends, it may make hiis life more bearable.
    For those not in the region, why not send an email to Hayes Toyota and tell them what you think!

  5. Great ideas Gail. I visited him every week for a while but he became increasingly psychotic. I believe the RSPCA recommended some toys but nothing happened. He still has filthy water in a rusty container. I am told that alone leads to lead in the kidneys building up.

    There will be a protest at the Murwillumbah showgrounds this Saturday (in 2 days time) at noon. Please be at the entrance with a sign if you can. We need to put pressure on Mr Hayes, the owner. Only one hour of your time. Toyota is brought every year and I’m told is freaked out by all the people, noise and commotion.

    Thank you.


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