NEWS FROM CCA-AUSTRALIA – Spring 2016
Our well-publicised annual Blessing of the Animals on 31st October, at St. Brigid’s Church at Fitzroy North (an inner suburb of Melbourne) was poorly attended, owing to an adverse weather forecast earlier in the afternoon. In fact, the sun was pleasantly shining throughout the actual service, which was conducted by Emeritus Bishop Hilton Deakin, our chaplain.
We were all very pleased with the new encyclical Laudato Si’, and we have to thank our parent CCA in England for their influence on its composition. However, it is going to take some effort to draw the attention of clergy and laity here in Australia to the actual animal welfare aspects of the encyclical. Some of us attended a public meeting consisting of a panel discussion on the encyclical, the panel consisting of three experts, two of them leading Catholic intellectuals: yet the word ‘animal’ was not heard even once in their speeches. On questioning, one of them indicated, however, that he was well aware of the animal content of the encyclical.
We have made a few changes in our membership requirements, mainly an increase in the annual fee to $35. But anyone who is also a member of the parent (English) CCA (and who would receive The Ark magazine as part of that membership) would pay us a reduced CCA-Aus membership subscription of $20.
John Drennan – CCA-Australia
LET COMPANION BIRDS FLY
Paris Yves DipAppSocSciCounsel is a bird behaviour counsellor and educator who lives in Melbourne, Australia. Moved by the plight of Australia’s captive companion birds she set up the campaign ‘Let Companion Birds Fly’. She has become the voice of bird behaviour, welfare and legal rights for companion birds in Australia.
BY PARIS YVES
Companion birds are suffering big time in Australia – emotionally and physically. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are more companion birds than pet dogs and cats. But these only include the birds that have been ‘counted’. Imagine how many more uncounted birds exist in basements, bedrooms and backyards etc.
Companion birds have similar emotional understanding and physical ailments as humans. Applied behaviour analysis, as practised by myself as a counsellor and by other counselling professionals, is also applied to birds by many responsible, ethical and empathic bird carers on this planet. But the majority of Australian bird carers, breeders and sellers either do not care about bird welfare or cannot empathise enough with their birds to understand that birds should not spend their lives as ornaments, locked up indoors in small cages and unable to fly.
Birds have a soul that needs to be set free. Pope Francis recently said: ‘Every act of cruelty towards any creature is “contrary to human dignity”.’ (LS:92).
My personal experiences with my own birds over many years, who I speak to and liaise with, as I would any human being, confirms that birds are highly intelligent, understand our body language and behaviour, have amazing intuition and memory, and yearn for love and affection from gentle and respectful carers. I have adopted birds that have previously suffered terribly in abusers’ hands for many years, only to cry in my arms asking for as much warmth and love from me as possible. Yes, they cry and cry. Only a deaf person could not hear their cries or hear their vocal calls for company and attention.
No Legal Protection for Birds
Companion birds have no legal protection in Australia. There are only non-mandatory Codes of Practice and codes that are created by the industry of bird breeders and sellers – a complete conflict of interest. And there is no governing body to review the industry codes. As a result, there are thousands of birds suffering at the hands of these breeders and sellers. Birds are sold online, at pet shops, from backyards, street markets, from large scale bird farms/mills, and there is no Australian legal animal welfare authority that is interested in bringing these issues to light or ending this tragedy.
The bird breeding and selling industry parallels the notorious puppy farm industry of Australia. My eyes have seen atrocities upon birds and my heart has heard and felt their desperate cries for acknowledgement and help – to let them out of their cages and to stop them being used as breeding machines, to set them free and allow them to feel unconditionally loved and to live as birds.
Speaking Up for Birds
I am speaking up as the The Voice of Bird Behaviour, Welfare and Legal Rights for Companion Birds in Australia.
I am desperate to raise the awareness of the Australian public about the tragedy that birds experience constantly throughout their lives. Their eggs are stolen by the breeders literally from ‘right under them’, they are separated from their mates and flock and sold, they are abused physically and emotionally and they live in third world conditions in Australia, where we criticize other countries for doing similar.
Australians must finally see and hear about the shocking welfare conditions of birds. Our Australian government must see the truths and introduce an independent body of bird welfare laws. It is unspeakable and unbelievable that birds who have the emotional intelligence of a person, are allowed to be ignored, force bred and treated with such abuse, in a ‘lucky thriving’ country as Australia.
Spread the Message about the Birds’ Plight
Pope Francis ‘Urges people and governments to show respect for these species by making greater consideration for how we treat them’.
As a gift from my beloved lorikeet Lorie, she wishes to share her latest video called Lorie’s Dream: search You Tube: Lorie’s Dream. In the video are just a few images taken of abused birds at public bird sales and online sales – there are thousands of similar images and worse online for anyone to see. Just visit any bird sale to see birds stuffed in small display boxes to be sold as market ornaments. Please share the above so that Australian birds are heard and so Australians worldwide can help me speak up for the welfare of birds! The birds will love you for it!
Thank you for your empathy and compassion for companion birds. Please feel free to contact me and join me in speaking up for companion bird welfare in Australia.
NEWS FROM CCA-AUSTRALIA – Summer 2015
At our AGM last November, Bishop Hilton Deakin, who had officiated at our animal blessing service and annual Mass (see The Ark, No. 229), agreed to become our chaplain. We are delighted that he has done so, a very worthy successor to our previous chaplains (who included Father Luciano Rocchi, OFMCap, and the late Father Philip Astley, SJ). Emeritus Bishop Hilton Deakin, DD, PhD, AM, was an Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne (Eastern Region) from 1993 to 2007. He is well known for his effective work for social justice both here and abroad. We welcome him most heartily. The committee of CCA-Aus is now as follows:
- Chairman and Treasurer – John Francis Drennan
- Vice-chairman – Susan Christiansz
- Secretary – Paul Crossley
- Ordinary member – Pauline Turner
We are all located in Melbourne. We would be glad to meet with members from overseas or interstate who might be visiting this part of the world.
John Drennan – CCA-Australia
LETTER FROM CCA–AUSTRALIA – Spring 2015
Since my last letter we have had one or two lively meetings to discuss basic questions. And we have revived our earlier custom of holding an annual blessing of the animals service. This was conducted on the feast day of St. Francis by Bishop Hilton Deakin, assisted by Monsignor Delmar Silva, parish priest of St. Brigid’s Church in Fitzroy North (a suburb of Melbourne), in the hall attached thereto. Bishop Deakin also celebrated our annual Mass in the same church the following day, preaching on the need for both human social justice and animal welfare in a context of ecology.
With the addition of a few enthusiastic new members, we are, I think, beginning to improve upon our rather lethargic performance during the last few years. A problem, as always, of course is that most of our members are dispersed around this vast continent and are thus unable to attend meetings here in Melbourne. Some members, however, are involved in individual or group activities relating to animal welfare in their home areas, and membership of CCA-Aus serves to reassure them that they are thereby doing God’s work.
John Francis Drennan – CCA-Australia