Amaan, Ayaan and Ustad Amjad Ali Khan Star in a PETA Ad

Birds have found friends in the family of Indian maestro Ustad Amjad Ali Khan. That's because the Padma Vibhushan recipient and his sons, Amaan and Ayaan, have come together to pose for a new PETA ad to urge fans never to condemn birds to a lifetime of confinement and loneliness in cages. The ad was shot by ace photographer Ashish Chawla, and Anu Mehra did the hair and make-up.

"Human beings, and especially musicians, have a similar psyche [with birds] because … we like that freedom of expression, that freedom of creativity, which I think a bird should enjoy as much as we human beings want to enjoy it", says Ayaan.

His brother, Amaan, adds, "Caging [birds] is going against nature because they were born to fly".

Caged birds suffer for their entire lives. Both hand-raised and wild-caught birds kept in cages often become neurotic, pulling out feathers and mutilating themselves, sometimes to the point of death. Birds are intelligent, social animals who feel pain and fear just as all animals do. They are captured by poachers, packed into small boxes and transported on trains to pet shops and other sellers. An estimated 60 per cent of them die in transit, usually from broken wings and legs, thirst, hunger or stress. Baby birds are caught in traps and nets, which often results in injury or death.

Caging birds is cruel, and Gujarat High Court Justice MR Shah also considers it illegal. For finding that caging birds is illegal and ordering the freeing of 494 birds and other animals seized from bird sellers by police, Justice Shah received a Compassionate Action Award from PETA India. He was quoted in The Times of India as saying, "Everybody is talking about fundamental rights of the citizen, such as, right to live freely, right to food, right to move freely etc. A day has come to think about the rights of the birds and animals …". Justice Shah's words echo those of revered English poet William Blake, who in the late 1700s famously wrote that a bird in a cage "[p]uts all heaven in a rage".


You can help save your feathered friends by taking the pledge never to cage birds.

Take the Pledge
I promise to support Ustad Amjad Ali Khan and his sons, Ayaan and Amaan, in speaking up for birds by pledging never to cage them.

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