FORGIVE ME FATHER, for I have sinned. It has been 35 years since I became a practicing research scientist and I have captured thousands of wild birds, outfitting many of them with gaudy bracelets or burdensome backpacks. I’ve made public their private lives. Some, I have temporarily confined in cages and subjected to brain scans designed to reveal otherwise unknowable thoughts.
I often ask myself if I have violated these sentient beings’ rights? I love and respect these birds and dedicate my life to their conservation. Yet, to argue persuasively for their preservation I must know (and tell others) about them. If possible, I would ask their permission before thrusting my curiosity upon them. But, of course, this is impossible.
As a biologist, I believe all living organisms have rights. As one who spends a good portion of every year in close company with smart and social animals, such as crows, ravens, and wolves, I am convinced that all birds and mammals deserve the care and consideration we give humans. The advanced neurological architecture and cognitive function of these creatures proves their intellect, but I can see no reason for not extending equal rights to all animals.
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