Friday, May 4, 2012

Please Think Again Before You Release Animals Into the Environment

37 minutes ago 


Today Online 11 May 06
Make a difference this Vesak Day 
Letter from Tan Chek Wee 

Some 2,600 years ago, the Buddha taught: "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumoured by many. "Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it." 

During Vesak Day, some Buddhists still adhere to the traditional practice of releasing animals, including birds, as an act of compassion. 

Buddhism teaches that compassion needs to be balanced with wisdom. 

This "traditional" liberation of animals needs to be reviewed in the light of knowing that unskilled release of animals can result in more suffering to these and to other animals in the environment, as a result of ecological incompatibility. 

Within our communities, we can "liberate" animals by being kind to stray cats and dogs, by teaching our children to be kind to animals, by speaking out against abuse, by advocating humane methods of stray animal population control such as sterilisation instead of culling them, and by adopting rescued pets in shelters instead of buying them from pet shops. 

Better still, we can "liberate" animals from our dining tables by becoming vegetarians.