Catching the fleeting scenes of many splendored life with a camera.
'Look closely. The beautiful may be small' — Kant

8 October 2012

Imprisoned for Beauty. Birds in Cage (Parakeets)

"What is it that should trace the insuperable line? ...The question is not, Can they reason? nor, Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?" (Jeremy Bentham, philosopher)

I remember once reading that as a child Leonardo da Vinci used to buy birds in cages at the local market and set them free in the nearby forest or field. It pleases me to think that I share values with this genius ;).

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a special fondness for animals, and I can’t stand seeing them suffer. It wasn’t something specifically instilled into my mind, but rather an inborn trait. I never, ever wanted to have a pet bird, rodent, fish or any other animal I would have had to keep in a cage or bowl, nor did I enjoy going to the zoo or to the circus because it’s always hurt me to see creatures meant to fly and run, in other words to be free, kept in confined spaces. Partly it might be due to my acute sense of freedom — I wouldn’t like to be in their place.
Not that I didn’t chase cats, ducks and hens (out of love, of course, and for fun) as any other child, but once I became aware they didn’t enjoy it too much I left them alone.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Jesus. — One of the most important moral rules that a civilised society should go by.

The budgerigar (Melopsittacus undulatus), also known as common pet parakeet or shell parakeet informally nicknamed the budgie, is a small, long-tailed, seed-eating parrot, and the only species in the Australian genus Melopsittacus. Wild budgerigars are found throughout the drier parts of Australia, where the species has survived harsh inland conditions for the last five million years. Naturally green and yellow with black, scalloped markings on the nape, back, and wings, breeders have created a rainbow of blues, whites, and yellows, greys, and even forms with small crests.
‘Budgerigars are popular pets around the world due to their small size, low cost, ability to mimic human speech and playful nature.’ That’s careless cruelty par excellence: turn a blind eye and enjoy.

Imprisoned for beauty- Green budgies in a cage
(© 2012 LightColourShade. All rights reserved) 
Although some still argue that cage birds are bred in captivity and therefore suffer less than captured wild animals, it’s an act of cruelty to breed a living creature only to condemn it to life imprisonment for our profit and entertainment, not to mention that it’s well known that all animals in captivity show abnormal behaviour. I wish those who believe birds are happy in coops could imagine themselves living this kind of life.

One of the (scanty ;)) feats I’m most proud of is when at the early age of six I confronted twice as old and twice as large boys who were electrocuting frogs with the naked wires of a street lamp. They took absolutely no notice of my indignation and growled at me but, nothing daunted, I immediately snitched on them to their parents and the boys were punished, although I suspect not so much for the cruelty to animals, but because of the danger of the boys getting electrocuted as well.

Not only is keeping birds in cages, jailed for life for their beauty or singing, unethical in itself, but also unbecoming a “superior” species that we believe ourselves to be. Precisely the way we treat animals is a telltale sign of barbaric intellect.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." (Mahatma Gandhi) 

Imprisoned for beauty: parakeets in a cage. (© 2012 LightColourShade. by-nc-nd) 
"If a group of beings from another planet were to land on Earth — beings who considered themselves as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals — would you concede them the rights over you that you assume over other animals?" (George Bernard Shaw)

2 comments:

  1. A very thought-provoking post, Stella. And you know, though I don't pretend to have your sensitivity, I was thinking of what it is that I don't like about circuses and caged birds - and I do believe that you nailed it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. I knew you would get my point, and I'm pretty sure you've always felt the same way. I guess it takes a civilised being to grasp ethical concepts.

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