Indian judge rules that wild birds held by vendor must be set free

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, June 2011:

AHMEDABAD, India–Gujarat High Court Justice M.R. Shah on
May 12, 2011 ordered the release to freedom of 494 parrots, doves,
pigeons, lovebirds, dogs, and rabbits who were seized by Surat
police on May 30, 2010 from vendor Abdul Jalal Kadar Sheikh.
The animals have been held at an animal hospital for almost a
year at Sheikh’s expense while he pursued a series of appeals,
expected to continue. “The manner in which the birds are kept in the
small cages, with their wings and tails cut, wings taped together,
and rings put on their feet–nothing can be more heinous,” Shah
said. “It is the fundamental right of a bird to live freely in the
open sky. The only order which can be passed in such circumstances,”
Shah ruled, “would be to set the birds free.”

PETA/India on May 18 honored Shah with a compassionate action
award, but longtime Blue Cross of India chief executive Chinny
Krishna warned that the birds would be unable to survive in the wild.
“They will die painfully after being let go in the wild,”
agreed Best Friends Animal Society correspondent Sharon St. Joan, a
licensed bird rehabilitator in the U.S. “Of course they should not
be given back to the bird sellers to suffer an even worse fate. The
judge has the principle correct,” St. Joan said, “that birds should
fly free, but it will not work without rehabilitation first.”

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