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CBP Agriculture Specialists in Miami Seize Live Birds in Laptop Bag

Release Date: 
July 10, 2015

MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) agriculture specialists working at Miami International Airport discovered two live pigeons wrapped in brown and blue tape and one finch inside a small plastic bottle on July 2.

Live birds found in a laptop bag.

Live birds found in a laptop bag.

Agriculture specialists discovered the pigeons and finch while inspecting a passenger's laptop bag arriving from Cuba.

The birds were seized for violation of the Lacey Act, a conservation law prohibiting trade in wildlife that has been illegally taken, possessed, transported, or sold.

This incident also represents a violation of the Migratory Bird Treaty, which makes it unlawful without a waiver to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell birds listed as "migratory birds". The statute does not distinguish between live or dead birds and also grants full protection to any bird parts including feathers, eggs, and nests. Over 800 species are currently on the list.

The consequences of a foreign animal disease (Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, Exotic Newcastle Disease) outbreak occurring in the United States would be devastating. An outbreak would affect the health and lives of animals, the quantity and quality of our nation’s food supply, and the stability of our nation’s international trade.

“CBP agriculture specialists are the front line in the fight against the introduction of harmful insects and diseases into the United States," said Miami International Airport Port Director Christopher Maston." They safeguard American agriculture and our natural resources by stopping plant pests and exotic foreign animal diseases at our nation's borders.”

To see more CBP activity in Florida, visit @CBPFlorida on Twitter.

Last modified: 
February 9, 2017