Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Bird privacy

Oftentimes, I will be thinking about an issue concerning animals and think, "someone should write something about it", only later to realize, I should write something about it.
Why me? Well, first of all, I don't have anyone I could order to write things for me on command. Secondly, people have written extensively about most animal (rights) issues, so really, I just want someone to write out my opinion for me. Thirdly and surprisingly... I'm qualified! Legit, real-World qualified to speak and write (correctly or wrongly) on these issues.*

Anyway, let me get to it. I have one passion and two main hobbies, although honestly I like dabbling in almost everything. My one passion has consistently been writing, and my hobbies, at the moment, are Kpop** and photography.

Within photography, I particularly like fashion and birds. Most birds are not that into being approached or photographed. The city birds like pigeons are easy to photograph, but the cooler birds are usually hidden in trees, moving around, or will run away if you get within range. Bird-watching is an intrinsic part of bird photography, but I honestly have very little patience for it. Probably because I cannot see outside during daylight without sunglasses, and with sunglasses on trying to see through the viewfinder or even the screen is surprisingly difficult. I did buy a camera lens solely for the birds but, it was on the cheaper side of lenses because I am an amateur. So basically, my style of bird photography is just to spot desired bird, stalk carefully, and then shoot and shoot hoping I get a good shot.

Sometimes I manage. But, as I pick a target-bird (they gotta have that bounce in their step or something) and proceed to stalk and then photograph, I become increasingly aware of how... creepy? the whole thing is. Especially when the birds are hiding in the trees and kinda give me that look that lets me know they're uncomfortable.
And I convince myself by saying, I'm actually not doing anything to harm them. Just friendly human taking pictures.

But what if friendly bird was taking pictures of me? Sometimes, a bird or iguana stands by the window when I shower, and it is a bit weird but not too bad. But what if they were taking pictures? Not necessarily in the shower but like street photography, or you're out with your family and some birds start taking photos of you to show to their friends. Or if it got so bad, and so many people were harassed in this manner that people went off running if a bird arrived at a site.
I don't know if the bird cares about privacy, but this is making me realize that I do. But then, if I truly believe I shouldn't be photographed when out and about during my daily activities (AHEM!!!!!!!) then the birds and all fauna of the world probably shouldn't either.

And besides, birds do become nervous upon seeing people. When stalking them to photograph, I am, indeed, stalking the birds. Isn't that weird? And it sure makes them nervous, alert. It might even inconvenience them by making them changing their destination or current activity. Anyway, I get the sense that most birds in particular don't really like being photographed.

So why is the issue of privacy not even considered within animal ethics? Collective laughter aside, it is because even their right not to be enslaved and tortured by a human cannot be guaranteed at this point. Chickens are one of the most abused animals on our planet, both by the numbers in which they are killed and by the ways in which they are mistreated. Cockfighting is still an issue, and bird-mills (like puppy-mills used to breed exotic bird species in captivity) and the pet industry cause suffering and death to countless animals each year.
And don't get me started on how reptiles and fish literally do not have any rights.

I honestly believe (and it was an issue I explored in my master's thesis about fish) that part of the cruelty with which humans treat animals comes from misunderstanding or willfully ignoring the capacities or capabilities of animals, alienating ourselves from them, exaggerating the differences that separate us. So perhaps if we start thinking about whether the bird is feeling harassed by photography, whether it is wrong to stalk a bird to photograph it, who knows? We might start thinking it's wrong to keep a bird in a tiny cage and feed him hormones that disfigure him. We might begin to think it's wrong to destroy literally all the entire habitat of many beings, and then complain when they shit on our roofs. We might start thinking that hey, we're not the only ones living in this earth after all, and perhaps we're not really the center of it, either.

*See my credentials.
**If Sports fanatism is a hobby, Kpop fanatism is a hobby.

>All pictures taken by me.

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