Cloris Leachman Asks Retirement Facilities to Nix Captive-Animal Displays

PETA and Actor Raising Hope for Birds and Other Animals Following Baltimore-Area Facility's Kind Decision

For Immediate Release:
April 28, 2014

Contact:
Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Representatives of nearly 300 retirement facilities recently found a surprise in their mailboxes: a heartfelt letter from Cloris Leachman. The Oscar winner sent letters on PETA’s behalf urging the facilities to follow the lead of Maryland’s Broadmead retirement community and pledge not to keep birds or other animals confined to inhumane displays. Broadmead heeded appeals from PETA, a community resident, and thousands of other concerned individuals and removed a barren, aquarium-like box that had displayed captive finches in an unnatural setting for years.

“As a senior citizen myself, I can tell you that I greatly value and enjoy watching and spending time with animals,” writes Leachman. “But seeing helpless birds trapped inside a barren prison is not something that I or anyone I know would find enriching—quite the opposite, in fact. It is insulting to suggest that retired, elderly individuals can be entertained by watching miserable birds spend their entire lives unable to follow their instincts.”

In her letter, Leachman offers PETA’s assistance in developing alternatives to captive animals, such as birdbaths, virtual aquariums, and visits by therapy dogs.

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

 

Cloris Leachman’s letter to the retirement facilities follows.

 

Dear Sir or Madam:

My friends at PETA recently shared with me the story of some captive finches, who for years—and up until late 2013—had been kept caged and on display in a barren glass box at Broadmead, a retirement community in Maryland. Thanks to a public outcry and PETA’s collaboration with a concerned Broadmead resident, the community elected to replace the depressing, aquarium-like box with bird-friendly rooftop areas designed to attract wild birds and allow residents to enjoy seeing them in a far less restrictive setting.

I’m writing in the hope that you will join Broadmead’s progressive lead and give this serious issue some consideration. If you currently have captive birds or any other animals on display, won’t you please work with PETA to place them in a more humane setting, and if you don’t (thank you, and good for you!), will you please pledge to keep things that way?

I had no idea that retirement facilities often keep birds (or other animals) in artificial, substandard conditions under the guise of enriching senior citizens’ lives. As a senior citizen myself, I can tell you that I greatly value and enjoy watching and spending time with animals. But seeing helpless birds trapped inside a barren prison is not something that I or anyone I know would find enriching—quite the opposite, in fact. It is insulting to suggest that retired, elderly individuals can be entertained by watching miserable birds spend their entire lives unable to follow their instincts. Cages deny birds all that is natural and important to them—including room to fly, fresh air, and enough water to bathe in.

Please join Broadmead in making the ethical choice. My friends at PETA can provide you with more information about humane alternatives to animal displays, including birdbaths, virtual aquariums, visits by therapy dogs, and much more.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Very truly yours,

Cloris Leachman

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind