Belgium: Competitions around the world usually focus on the athlete’s abilities, but a large number of people in Belgium take part in the annual bird song competition, but animal rights activists are unhappy.
The competition, also known as ‘Finch Sitting’, is attended by Dutch-speaking people in Belgium. In this game, each cage is placed at a distance of six feet from the other and the owner of the bird sits in front of them. Each participant has a long wooden stick like a crack and when the bird makes its full call it is indicated by a chalk mark.
Victory in the competition belongs to the one whose bird makes the most complete sound in an hour. But in the meantime, the competition judges keep an eye on the whole process so that no participant is dishonest. Although it is a strange game, it has been sharply criticized by animal and bird rights activists.
The game of hearing birds first dates back to the 16th century, when it was started by ancient merchants. It was re-launched after World War I and reached its peak in Belgium by 2007. This year, 13,000 athletes across Belgium had more than 10,000 Finch birds to compete.
There are many ways for birds to chirp as much as possible. Special breeds of finch birds are selected, fed a high-protein diet and even vaccinated with hormones. But there is also artificial lighting and music in the cages to attract the birds to the noise.
That’s why bird rights groups have criticized the contest, calling it cruelty to animals. According to him, delicate birds like finches are kept in narrow, dark and small cages. Compared to animals, some participants claim that their bird makes a thousand sounds an hour.
According to the zoo, birds are forced to chirp in this way, and if released, they can chirp even more in the open air.