When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore --
When he beats his bars and he would be free:
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart's deep core,
But a plea, that upward to heaven he flings --
I know why the caged bird sings!
--Paul Laurence Dunbar, the son of 2 runaway slaves
With thanks once more to PETA President Ingrid Newkirk for this poem in her chapter on "Cute 'Pet' or Complex Individual and Friend for Life?" in The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights. (2009)
What follows the poem are observations and facts like these:
* "There is no such animal as a 'cage bird.' All caged birds were either captured or captive-bred. No bird was born to be in a cage."
* An estimated 40 million birds are confined to cages in homes across the US.
* "Of all the cruelties of thoughtlessness, including the loss of flight and liberty, depriving them (birds) of companionship may be the most heartless."