Marcus Schenkenberg: “Let Birds Fly Free”

(Photo and text from a PETA press release)

Considered the world’s first male supermodel, Marcus Schenkenberg is starring in a new ad campaign to let people know that “kalayaan karapatan ng bawat nilalang” and urging bird lovers to “let birds fly free.”

The sexy new ad for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Asia-Pacific is being released to coincide with the Philippine Bird Festival, which celebrates native birds and encourages their conservation. Inspired by a widely publicized incident in which the supermodel rescued a bird who had become trapped in his hotel room, the ad shows a buff, shirtless Marcus holding an empty cage as birds fly free behind him.

The ad is part of a campaign to raise awareness about the cruelty involved in the capture, breeding, and caging of birds who end up in pet shops around the world and who should be left in their jungle homes to fly with their flocks and raise their families. The trade in foreign birds is restricted by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), but bird markets flourish openly, and the smuggling of birds continues.

Fledgling birds are captured in their nests, and other birds are caught in traps or nets, which can cause serious injury or death to both parent and baby birds. Poachers snatch thousands of birds from forests and pack them into small boxes. Sixty percent of birds die during transport because of broken wings and legs, thirst, or fright. It is estimated that for every bird who reaches his or her final destination, two die en route.

“If we want to protect our native birds, the first thing we have to do is stop buying them in pet shops and markets,” says PETA Asia-Pacific Director Jason Baker. “Birds are meant to soar through the treetops, not sit on a perch and stare at cage bars all day long.”

PETA believes that shoot-to-kill policies for wild birds as a measure to prevent bird flu are like putting a Band-Aid on a recently amputated limb. This ineffective short-term plan fails to deal with the root cause of bird flu, which, experts throughout the world agree, is raising animals for food. All flu pandemics of the last century were a result of animal agriculture, yet people continue to sow the seeds of future pandemics every time they eat meat. Rather than indiscriminately destroying local wildlife, the government should be encouraging an end to the reliance on animal agriculture and instead supporting a move toward sustainable plant-based agriculture.

Related Link: Marcus Schenkenberg‘s statement from PETA India

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