Standing tall, his sculpted body silhouetted against the blue sky, model-turned-actor John Abraham holds an empty birdcage this Independence Day, asking for independence for caged birds as well. John Abraham has always been among the first to stand up for the rights of animals, whatever it takes whether that means slapping an errant tonga-wallah for whipping his overloaded horse or stuffing himself into a birdcage to pose for a PETA ad. Under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act 1972, it is illegal to trap or trade in all indigenous birds. However, even though India has some of the best laws protecting these colorful and intelligent beings, black markets thrive openly in most parts of the country, involving 300 of Indias 1,200 species. One can still find muniyas being sold at road signals, and quack astrologers stuff gentle parrots into wooden boxes to help them tell the future. Independence Day should spell freedom for all humans and animals alike, says John. Birds arent meant to learn silly human words or swing in a cage. They are supposed to roam free in the skies and sing songs for each other.
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