6. Greed. Possession. Control.
The email message sent by the owner in response to our anguished pleas for help,
was beyond any stretch of savage callousness
that we ever could have thought possible:
“This sanctuary provides a home for life as stated in the mandate
– not a temporary place so that people can drop them off
and pick them up at their pleasure.”
IF the concern is for the ‘happiness of the birds’ why would any “sanctuary”
NOT bend over backwards’ to assist any owner in ensuring that their bird
– any bird – is in the best situation possible?
THIS is NOT ‘about the birds’.
The conduct of those connected with World Parrot Refuge
reveals that its mandate “for life” is about Taking. Hoarding.
“Home for Life” we understood, meant ‘life’ as opposed to the abuse
and inevitable death of an abusive confinement. We would never have imagined
that it meant “a life sentence” confined,
without human affection, hygiene, or safety.
My wife and I were most certainly told, in the beginning,
that there were birds present at the World Parrot Refuge
who were being boarded. Under NO circumstances did we believe
that the birds that were within the confines of that place
would never again leave it alive.
Why would any LEGITIMATE sanctuary … NOT … be willing to provide a temporary home
… IF … that sanctuary TRULY exists for the benefit of the birds?
A “REFUGE” is a place where one can be safe from danger or difficulty.
A “SANCTUARY” is a place where one can be safe from pursuit or persecution.
For birds that are being battered, frightened, abused or neglected
by the lowest, savage form of human life that does such things, then
– by all means – let there be such a place as the World Parrot Refuge.
BUT WHERE a loving, kind, compassionate human being regards it as a privilege
to bestow affection on a bird … then there is no basis for that bird
needing “sanctuary” or “refuge” any longer.
It makes not one blind bit of difference Why a bird was initially taken
to the World Parrot Refuge: whenever some caring human being
will gladly bestow the human love and personal attention that a human raised,
human-habituated bird so desperately wants …
that bird should be cheerfully and enthusiastically placed in the loving care
of those who will make it a beloved member of their family.
And in this regard, the World Parrot Refuge has nothing whatsoever
to do with the happiness of birds.
From our personal experience over eight years;
from the testimony of those who have worked there;
from the accounts of broken-hearted bird owners,
the true purpose of the World Parrot Refuge has every indication –
to our considered experience, to be something far more sinister.
As the agony of those who have entrusted their birds – and signed a form –
will readily attest.
7. Chilling Realisation
We never once left our birds; but constantly visited to assess their condition.
Visits in March, August and December were spent
cleaning and scrubbing cages and flights;
sweeping and mopping floors;
even bringing personal possessions from our home,
to sell in the attached ‘thrift shop’ …
all to make certain that our birds were content.
In 2008, posted signs began to appear – on the walls, and on the Internet –
announcing the necessity, and availability of “Surrender Forms”
for anyone who wanted to leave a bird at the “refuge”.
A chill went through me as I remembered that … I … had signed a form.
I could not rid myself of the overwhelming sensation that I had been “conned”:
that my conscience had been manipulated – my confidence gained by deception;
our birds, stolen by deceit; and both – dead …
Because I chose to think good, and not evil, of someone.
Mature observation and discernment seemed to indicate at that time,
a fact which would be most definitely revealed on the 22nd of June, 2014:
that – if any knowledgeable bird owner dared to question
the increasingly degenerating conditions and practices
at the World Parrot Refuge, they would be banned from the premises.
Rather than risk conflict with a by-now-evident tyrant
that would countenance neither help or advice from anyone;
rather than risk being banned from the place …
we exercised mature discretion and kept a wary silence for the time being.
As long as the birds were bright-eyed and well-fed … we were content.
We could never know that December of 2011 was the last time
that we would ever see Wallace.
Or that at the same time of year, Sarah, our Cockatoo
– in the “care” of this facility – would have two of her toes bitten off.
And no one claimed to know how.
When any reasonable, Mature adult leaves an animal
under the oversight of any facility, they do so WITH THE REASONABLE EXPECTATION
that there will be care and attention for the welfare of the animal.
There is no care whatsoever in this woman’s perverse notion of “the wild”.
And there is absolutely no attention.
The birds are nameless objects thrown en-masse into a world of anonymity,
with no means of escape from danger, disease, disfigurement, or death.
We did NOT leave our birds in this place to have them mutilated.
And I loathe myself today that I did not take both birds,
and leave that contemptible place forever.
We immediately made our displeasure known to the two vacuous subordinates
now “in charge” during the owner’s absence:
Seeing Sarah’s toes gone, I said that I was taking Sarah to see a veterinarian.
The reply chilled me:
“Well that would be up to Wendy.”
Veterinary care for a savaged bird … was ‘up to’ the owner ?
Again, the threat of being ‘banned’ made me keep my mouth shut.
My disgust must have been plain though, since
Sarah was moved from the general populace of the “intake area”.
Our return visit saw that she had been placed into a glorified wardrobe
that passed for the “Sick Bay” – a foetid, air-less, cupboard-sized room
with a glass door containing a dozen birds … no ventilation of any kind
… with running pus, clotted blood, and flies on cages, food, and work-surfaces.
Our repugnance was evident.
From this repellent chamber of disease, Sara was relocated
to a protected area near the front entrance,
removed from the cloying, plague-like suppuration of “the hospital”,
and from further attack by larger, aggressive birds.
She was in a safe place with the small birds in the entrance hall
where she would be able to see, and greet, any arriving visitors.
While it never alleviated our disgust, or my conscience,
that our little cockatoo had been mutilated in the first place,
she was safe now, but we would be watching her much more intently.
But as resolve to take our birds back to the security and safety
of our quiet country home grew, we were confronted with an even greater alarm:
Wallace was nowhere to be seen.
[ continued in Part 4 ]