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by Abigail Van Buren

Birds in the Bush Are Safer Than Birds in Some Hands

DEAR ABBY: Bless you for your humanitarian objection to the traditional Labor Day Pigeon Shoot in Hegins, Pa.

I happen to be a bird lover, and it may please you to know that I wrote to you in 1961 on the subject of cruelty to birds. You printed my letter and I still have the clipping. I am enclosing a copy. You may want to print it again. -- STILL A BIRD LOVER AT AGE 89

DEAR BIRD LOVER: It's a wonderful letter, and I certainly do want to print it again. Here it is:

DEAR ABBY: Will you please say something about people who buy birds as pets, and then mistreat them? I have actually had people say to me, "Our canary fell into the dishwater and was drowned." Or, "Our parakeet flew into the open fireplace and got burned up." Or, "The cat got it." Or, "The dog got it."

I once knew a man who used to give his parakeet vodka just to see how it would act. This same man is big and strong, and just because the bird pecked him on the ear, he knocked the bird down and broke its wing!

What a pity that birds are the most abused of all pets. -- BIRD LOVER

DEAR BIRD LOVER: Not all pet birds are abused -- only those who are unfortunate enough to belong to people who belong in cages.