Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Stop the act of buying, freeing animals on Vesak Day

When a 'good deed' just isn't right

Letter from Chin Kee Thou
07:42 AM May 25, 2010

ON VESAK Day - which marks the birth, enlightenment and passing of the Buddha - many followers and devotees buy captive animals from pet shops and set them free as a form of doing good deeds.

They have the mistaken notion that the buying and freeing of captive animals like turtles, fish and birds at temples, reservoirs, parks and beaches is a symbolic gesture of compassion. This is not a right view or action in the practice of the faith.

Right livelihood is a virtue to cultivate; but to trap and hold captive these animals for sale is an unwholesome occupation. And buying these animals is an act of abetment, which would only encourage the perpetrators to flourish. There will be no supply if there is no demand.

Saving of lives is another virtue to cultivate. But many of these animals "freed" into a unfamiliar and hostile habitat will eventually perish.

Followers and devotees should preserve lives by stopping this act of acquiring and freeing the animals and birds.

Furthermore, the money saved and donated to charity for a worthy cause is a noble act that should be observed instead.

Also, in order to protect the environment, the National Parks Board, Public Utilities Board and National Environment Agency do not encourage the practice of releasing animals in reservoirs, beaches and nature reserves.