“Veganism is not just a diet or lifestyle. It is a basic prerequisite for anyone who wishes to start caring seriously about animals, including humans. It is a moral and political commitment to nonviolence.” – Ken Hopes
Let us begin with what a vegan-run corvid sanctuary does not mean. It does not mean that we raise wild birds on a vegan diet. To rescue, rehabilitate and ultimately release wild birds back into their natural home environment, these animals need to be raised or fed on a diet, which resembles their natural diet as closely as possible, otherwise these animals would not stand a chance to survive in the wild. Our rehabilitation programme is based around BVZS “Good Practice Guidelines for Wildlife Rehabilitation Centres” and tailored around the individual needs of the animal concerned, which does not only include their diet, but also an appropriate hospital, rehabilitation and release aviary setup.
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Canker is caused by a flagellate protozoan and is also known as trichomoniasis, roup or frounce. It is not transmittable to humans or other mammals, but can be caught by other birds that share the same water, eat seed dropped by an afflicted bird, or through direct beak-to-beak contact. The organism Trichomonas gallinae lives in the sinuses, mouth, throat, oesophagus and other organs. This disease occurs worldwide in warm climates or during warm weather.
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Being sentient means to have the capacity to have positive and negative experiences, such as feeling pain and pleasure. This applies at the very least to all animals with centralised nervous systems. Sentient beings have their very own unique personalities. We should refer to them as “he/she”, “them/they” or by species. The words “it” or “thing” should not be used to refer to an animal, and “who” is used rather than “that”. If you do not know the gender, then choose one: “he” or “she”. Even if your gender choice is wrong, it is more respectful than “it”. This is an important way of demonstrating the respect we ask others to afford all animals.
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Before we look at possible answers, we should try to establish an ethical baseline we all can agree on and work with. Most but not all people will accept that it is wrong to intentionally inflict harm onto others with the exception of acting in self defence. Intentionally harming other people is morally seen not acceptable. Violence is generally not regarded as normal behaviour, as it obviously can cause harm. It seems natural to most of us to help others, who have been harmed or are about to be harmed. But what drives us to help? And where does empathy and compassion come from?
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Caring for temporarily and permanently disabled birds is an important but also challenging aspect of bird rescue and rehabilitation. The specific needs of in particular temporarily disabled birds are often underestimated and sometimes even neglected. However, there is an increased risk of associated injuries affecting in particular birds with fractured wings or legs. Although the time span of this temporary disability or immobilisation seems very much limited, it is often long enough to cause considerable problems like joint stiffness or pressure sores. Naturally, this becomes more of a problem in long-term rehabilitation and for permanently disabled birds.
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