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Smaller Than An Animal’s Cage

July 25, 2009

Most bird-cages allow the bird to spread its wings comfortably, perhaps even hop around a bit. Zoo cages allow the animals room to walk, run, jump and frolic about. All of this passed through my mind as I stood in the center of my cell and spread my arms out wide while doing yoga.“My cell is smaller than an animal’s cage,” I thought.

To give you an idea of how very small my cell is I’m going to take you along on a little measurement experiment… O.K, I just stood up. Now I’m standing in the middle of my cell with this pad of paper in hand. I’m looking forward facing my cell door.Leaving my left foot stationary I just leaned forward and tapped my cell door with my right foot. Still leaving my left foot in the same spot I leaned back and pressed my right foot to the back wall. Now I’m about to spread my arms wide. I can almost touch the left and right wall with my fingertips; if I lean about two inches to each side I can touch both walls. Half step forward I’m at my toilet. Half step back I’m at my bunk. My desk is a foot to the right. I reach up and I can touch the ceiling. So, while standing in the very center of my cell I can touch everything in my cage by leaning one way or another. From a central position, with my feet or hands, I can touch my cell door, toilet, desk, bunk, ceiling, and all four walls. Gerbils have larger cages. Hamsters have more spacious living quarters. How can anyone rationally say that it’s humane to keep human beings confined to such horrendously small cells?

R.

 

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