Join Our Band of Kindred Spirits
Speaking Out For Those Who Can Only Chirp
We Are On a Mission From Mother Nature
"A robin redbreast in a cage
puts all Heaven in a rage."
And a robin is no different than a parrot,
a finch, or any other glorious bird.
To join our cause, all it takes is a willingness to spread the word,
by enligtening a friend, inspiring a stranger with a bumper sticker,
or wearing a thought-provoking T-shirt.
Here's an example:
A few years ago my wife and I were invited to dinner by our good friend, Karen, one of the kindest, most considerate people we know. Nevertheless, for many years, Karen kept a single finch in a small cage dangling in her living room. Somewhere during dessert, when the subject of the bird came up, I couldn’t help myself. “In my opinion,” I said, over a piece of Karen’s home-made cherry pie, “keeping a gentle, harmless creature in a tiny cage, in solitary confinement, until it dies, knowing all the while that because of you, that bird will never fly, never mate, never bare young, and never once know the freedom that you yourself cherish―well that’s just something I’ll never understand.”
My little rant was immediately followed by a long uncomfortable silence that I vividly recall. That goes for the look on Karen’s face, too. “Visibly shaken,” was the way my wife put it.
Then it was Karen’s turn. “Solitary confinement!” she fumed. “How can you say that?”
"Sorry, Karen, but what else can you call it? The reality is, you’ve sentenced an innocent creature to life in prison, with a plastic mirror as its only friend.” These were harsh words to hear for someone as kind and considerate as Karen. She seethed awhile in silence, then mentioned something about not seeing it the same way, which pretty much ended the conversation, along with any semblance of our usual happy, “huggy” goodbye.
That one disagreement, however, did not affect our friendship. Good friends survive more than that. But it did affect Karen’s point of view. A year later, after her bird died, she came to me and confessed, “Until that night I never really thought about it, but what you said was true.” She also promised to never buy another bird.
The world, you see, is full of good honest people like Karen, who keep birds in cages without really thinking about it. But it’s precisely because they are good honest people that makes our mission so easy. Very often, all it takes is a few good honest words to open their eyes—and their hearts.
(By the way, if you ever find yourself in a similar situation to the one above, there's no need to be so confrontational and risk bad feelings. The same results can be achieved with a clear, calm explanation of the facts.)