Should we keep birds in a cage as pets?
Imagine yourself in the bird's position. What if you are a prisoner alone in a cage? What if your captors are not your own kind? What if you are fed not because you are hungry but according to the whims of your captors? What if you are part of an exhibition?
Imaging yourself in another specie's position requires you to imagine yourself with the bird's brain, not a human's. And they do not consider themselves 'prisoners', that is their environment. Whether or not the human caretaker meet's the bird's needs is another story. They should be fed a species-appropriate diet that meets their mental and physical needs, they should be given attention as many common pet birds are highly social and they should have toys rotated that encourage natural forging behavior to ward off boredom and resulting mental distress. If a bird has its simple needs met it will be fine and won't ponder ideas of freedom or embarrassment from being in an exhibition as those are human thoughts, not avian. To fully respond to your question, yes we should if that's what we want to do and can meet the requirements.
Animals were never meant to be caged. You don't have to imagine because the birds can't use their wings in a cage. It's like having your arms tied all the time. It's their natural instinct to fly, so of course, no. I really don't like birds as pets for that reason.
My experience with most common pet birds shows that they appreciate company far more than flying can achieve.
Of course birds like company but we're not talking about company. We're talking about birds being caged. I'm not aware of a study proving they prefer human companionship to flying, something nature intended them to do.
It's something you understand from actually keeping birds.
The philosopher Peter Singer argues that much of our interactions with animals has been speciesist in that we feel a natural affinity to our species and lessor so to them because they are not of our genus, as result their "rights" are often ignored or argued away as nonexistent. The moral question you ask is often extended to the questions of zoos and how we encroach on nature with our expansive developing.
If we treated animals as humans, we would tread more carefully, but as history shows not that carefully. If animals are a resource, there for our usage and pleasure, we can see the logic that how we use animals for our desire whether entertainment as in shooting them for sport or caging them as pets is very much premised on the first principles we want to start with. Are animals morally on par with human beings or are they trees? Of course, that statement is itself as question...
Humans are obviously speciesists. Why do they kill bugs with so much ease? The answer is that humans view them as simplistic. And well, they are, like all non-humans. Often the same people who hate my pet keeping on your pretense kill bugs easily.
Indeed, it is so. There is a lack of mindfulness.
Life is all about coservation of energy, if a bird has no reason to fly it will not fly as it saves energy to walk, which most birds do do in preference. Given that the natural environment is very very dangerous animals will naturally find securerity where they can, if this is provided in captivity which benefits the only three requirements of life then the animal will be content. We as humans assume far too much, we choose to allow ourselves to live in a captive environment and expect animals to roam around in dangerous unforgiving "natural" ? existances, why would a bird argue at being fed without hunting or scavenging?, why would a bird argue about being in a warm comfortable environment without competition and predators?, why would a bird argue when introduced to a mate? Life is Eat, Survive and Multiply and to do these three things using the least amount of energy is success. Birds fly because they have to! to survive.
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