Caged Birds

There are four aspects to this BWC campaign which aims to get the import, poaching, trade and caging of all birds banned.

Import: In 1991, in response to BWC’s representations, all birds were shifted to the Banned List of the Export Policy. Like all Government policies, this policy gets reviewed each year and exceptions have been made. Unfortunately, in 1997 the export of exotic birds of foreign origin was reopened.

Poaching: Birds originate in dense forests where they are illegally and cruelly trapped, usually using bird-lime (a thick and sticky adhesive substance smeared on branches and twigs to which birds get stuck) or by keeping a female bird as “bait” in a cage in order to attract male birds in large numbers which are immediately captured in the clap-net laid down. Moreover, many birds (including migratory ones) fly into the mist-nets or get caught in the mechanical traps laid down, struggle in panic to escape, hurting themselves severely, and are therefore simply left to their fate. Bird poachers have also begun initiating children and teenagers in the hope that forest officials will not arrest minors.

The State of India’s Birds 2020 assessment raises the alarm that several spectacular birds, face a growing threat from loss of habitat due to human activity, widespread presence of toxins including pesticides, hunting and trapping for the pet trade.

For detailed information on trapping birds please see

Trade: The poached birds and then clandestinely transported across different states in India and displayed for sale in bird markets and pet shops. They are passed off as having been born in captivity because it is unadvisable to release such birds due to re-adjustment in the wild. They should never be purchased for release. Please read

Caging: Birds are for flying free in the wild. Not for cruel caging – they do not deserve life-imprisonment even if kept in so-called comfort. Prevention (not caging) is certainly better than cure (releasing) and people should desist from caging birds in the first place. Vegetarians should especially regard this as an extension of their principle of non-violence.

BWC’s stand on not caging birds was strengthened when in May 2015 a Delhi High Court Judge after hearing both sides of a case involving a bird trader and NGO, stated it was “of the view that running the trade of birds is in violation of the rights of the birds. They deserve sympathy. Nobody is caring as to whether they have been inflicting cruelty or not despite of settled law that birds have a fundamental right to fly and cannot be caged and will have to be set free in the sky. Actually, they are meant for the same. But on the other hand, they are exported illegally in foreign countries without availability of proper food, water, medical aid and other basic amenities required as per law. Birds have fundamental rights including the right to live with dignity and they cannot be subjected to cruelty by anyone including claim made by the respondent. Therefore, I am clear in mind that all the birds have fundamental rights to fly in the sky and all human beings have no right to keep them in small cages for the purposes of their business or otherwise”.

Beauty Without Cruelty condemns poaching of birds, and discourages people from trading in and keeping caged birds irrespective of their origin: wild or captive-born, Indian or foreign.

Page last updated on 14/04/20