Think your lockdown is unpleasant? Imagine how birds forced to spend their entire lives inside a cage feel.
PETA is erecting billboards across Asia to urge everyone never to buy birds from markets, pet stores, or bird breeders—because “life in a cage is no life at all.” Without hope that their lockdown will ever end, many captive birds tear out their feathers, cry out, and even collapse from anxiety.
PETA’s billboards in the Philippines, donated by Strongmedia Advertising Solutions, are up at the following locations:
- 1106 España Boulevard (near the intersection with Nicanor Reyes Street), Sampaloc, Manila
- The intersection of EDSA and Kamuning Road (near the JAC Liner bus station), Quezon City
- 170 Katipunan Avenue (near the intersection with Col. Bonny Serrano Avenue), Quezon City
- 259 EDSA (next to Central Luzon Mahogany Corporation), Mandaluyong
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PETA’s billboards in Singapore, donated by The Perfect Media Group, can be seen at the following locations:
- Directly facing the Chinatown MRT station (See Google Maps for the location here.)
- The Queensway Shopping Centre on Alexandra Road, at the intersection with Jalan Bukit Merah (See Google Maps for the location here.)
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The ad will also soon launch in Germany, India, Thailand, and the U.S., among other locations.
There Is No Such Animal as a Caged Bird
All birds kept inside cages were either captured in nature or bred in captivity. Many bird species mate for life and share parenting tasks. The evidence of their close companionship and concern for one another is plain to see.
Unfortunately for them, however, the very qualities that we find admirable and fascinating about them—their brilliant colors, songs, ability to fly, and playfulness—have made them a popular type of animal to buy and cage. They are then often improperly cared for and become frustrated and lonely in cramped, alien environments a long way from their natural homes.
Like dogs on chains, birds in cages crave freedom and companionship, not the cruelty of forced solitary confinement for the rest of their lives.
Birds often become aggressive and self-destructive when confined to cages. They pull out their own feathers, mutilate their skin, incessantly bob their heads, regurgitate, pace back and forth, peck over and over again at cage bars, and shake or even collapse from anxiety. Even if a bird previously kept in a cage comes to a home in which he or she is allowed a rich, active life, these behavior patterns can persist.
The Truth About Bird Suppliers
Just as there are puppy mills, there are enormous bird factories where breeders warehouse thousands of parrots and other exotic birds and remove their offspring in order to sell them to markets and pet stores. Other birds are snatched from their natural habitats. All of them are typically confined to dirty, dimly lit cages, in which they’re unable to stretch their wings fully.
Smuggling Is Common
Wild-caught birds are also prime commodities in the multibillion-dollar wildlife trade. Hardly a week goes by without another story of birds being smuggled in jacket pockets or of any of hundreds of other usually deadly schemes to import these valuable animals illegally. While many smugglers are caught, many are not, so thousands of uninspected—and frequently sick and terrified—birds enter the companion bird trade each year.
Captive Birds Cannot Be Set Free
Birds typically aren’t native to the areas where they’re held captive, and they cannot be released simply by opening a window and allowing them to fly away. Without the proper climate and food sources, released or escaped birds become prey for free-roaming cats and wildlife or endure lingering deaths because of exposure, starvation, or injuries.
Never Buy Birds for Sale
Markets, pet stores, and bird breeders are unlikely to tell you any of this important information. That’s because, at the end of the day, they just want to sell a “product” and make some quick cash. But remember—there’s no such thing as a “starter pet.” Birds in the pet industry are individuals with complex needs and big personalities. They’re not learning tools for children, and they should never be given as gifts. They experience deep emotions and can never be fully satisfied with a life spent trapped in a cage or otherwise cooped up indoors.