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writing for godot

Bradley Manning’s Quantico Cell 2x the Size of Parrot Cage

Written by Dr. Amy L. Beam   
Sunday, 02 December 2012 03:00
Bradley Manning’s cage-like cell at Quantico was 6’ by 8’, twice the size of the minimum cage size requirement of 3’ x 4’ for a large macaw parrot. The advice to bird owners states, “In all cases, the larger the cage you can get, the better. Even though some birds are quite small, most are active and need the exercise afforded by a large cage to be healthy and happy.”

Based on observing the cell dimensions presented by Attorney David Coombs in court, the bed was 2.5’ x 6’. There was a toilet on the end wall and sink on the wall opposite the bed. This left a floor space for walking of 3’ by 6’. Manning testified that exercising in his cell was forbidden but dancing was not. So he danced to keep his sanity, since he was not permitted to lie down or sit and lean against the wall during the day.

I measured off a 3’ x 6’ area to see how many paces I could take to cross the length of the space: exactly three. One-two-three-pivot. One-two-three-pivot. Left-right-left-pivot. Left-right-left-pivot. To call this pacing is an exaggeration. That is how I understood what I, myself, would do if caged up like Manning had been. I would pivot and turn, just like when I salsa dance. I am certain that this would be torture if confined for nine days, let alone nine months in a cage this size.

The UK government set up the Farm Animal Welfare Advisory Committee in 1967, which became the Farm Animal Welfare Council in 1979. The committee’s first guidelines recommended that animals require the freedoms to “stand up, lie down, turn around, groom themselves and stretch their limbs”. The guidelines have since been elaborated to become known as the Five Freedoms and have been adopted by many countries.

Two of these animal welfare freedoms are:

Freedom to express normal behavior by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind.

Freedom from fear and distress by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering.

The Australian Animal Welfare Code of Ethics further elucidates, “Animals must be able to withdraw, where appropriate, to a quiet, dark and well ventilated area within their enclosure to allow them to take sleep breaks.”

Exercise is as important as sleep. An African Grey parrot needs three hours 'out of cage' time and 45 minutes of physical interaction daily. This is a minimum of time required for the parrot’s good mental health. Exercise is key for an African Grey.

Bradley Manning’s solitary confinement at Quantico in 2010-2011, in a cell barely bigger than the size of a parrot’s cage, does not even pass the international standard for animal welfare rights, let alone human rights. It is clear his confinement at Quantico Brig meets the definition of torture. your social media marketing partner
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