Sunday, August 22, 2010

Welfare from A Bird's Eye View

Nancy Burke Loving a Hundred Year Old Yellow-crowned Amazon Parrot


I have
recently returned from several weeks of being among bird people, attending a
bird veterinarian conference (the
Association of Avian Veterinarians), a bird
owner/breeder conference (
American Federation of Aviculture), an avian
veterinary clinics (
Bird and Exotic Pet Wellness Center) and pet bird owners of
flocks. There was a time when I could not have spent enjoyable time amongst
them, for I thought they were "wrong" for keeping wild birds in
captivity.  Through the deep work of
Nonviolent Communication that I translate into
Compassionate Conservation, I am
learning to see that these people are not wrong, nor am I.   Life
flows through them just as it does me, striving to bring appreciation, beauty,
companionship, and nurturing to their lives. 
They love birds, I love birds. They care for birds, I care for
birds.  They choose to do so by keeping
birds in cages in their homes, or treating captive birds in their clinics,
while I choose to work with wild parrots in Latin America.  Our strategies differ, but we are interdependent
with one another, not separate, but worthy and lovely.  We share life.  Because I appreciate our common humanity and
might empathize with them, I can be among them,  and even more important to me, love them for who they are
and keep my heart open to the beauty that is their lives.  
does not mean that I do not mourn their strategies. Indeed, after several weeks
of being among captive birds and hearing of their hard lives in captivity, I am
ready for a break.  My heart hurts to
witness such suffering. 

Striving to
relate through common needs also doesn't mean that I don't tell others what is
going on in my heart.  Indeed there were
many such discussions.  In that sharing,
my aching heart does find relief, for at the level of universal needs, of
mattering and seeing that other species matter, we were able to connect.  By seeing our discomfort as being at the
level of strategy, and not at the level of universal needs, we find ways to empathize
with one another, support one another, and hopefully  help one another see that we matter so that
we can work together in ways that reflect the needs of all beings.

This is my
dream and my prayer for we who share our lives with birds, especially this year
as we work together to develop guidelines for birds under the
Animal Welfare
.  I strongly believe that we need all
of us at the table, so that we might nourish birds, ourselves, and the world we
share with them with our creative, loving, synergy.  May this be so.



No comments:

Post a Comment