If you truly care for the animals with great compassion and wish them freedom, love, peace and joy, please do not purchase anything from any stores or merchants just to release them in the wild.
First of all, your demand would encourage suppliers to go out of their way to catch these animals just to satisfy your needs. These animals may never have to suffer had you not want to release them from what you imagined is suffering. If these animals are captive-bred, releasing them may be more torture. It would be like sending a rich man who has never had to find food for himself onto the streets with no money and no ability to find food. He might not even be able to find his way around or walk because he's been so used to being served. Of course he would ended up dead within the day or if he survive, ends up causing other innocents to die.
So here are some ideas if you really want to practice the release of animals for vesak day:
1) Become vegetarian for the day so you spare animals from being killed for the day.
2) Become vegetarian so that you will never be responsible for the death of an animal to become food on your table ever again.
3) Adopt an abandoned animal from a shelter and commit yourself to their care for the rest of its life. They cannot go back into the wild and if there are nobody to adopt them, they might be put to sleep. You can save and alter the fate of a vulnerable life by adopting these abandoned domesticated animals. This is much more preferable than to buy a wild animal for a pet or to go out of your way to import a pedigree animal only to find they cannot suit the environment here. You have to make a commitment to care for it for life because most animals who are abandoned because their owners lost interest in them or they got too big.
4) Donate money to an organization who is saving animals in the wild. I personally have donated 25 pounds to the World Land Trust to save an acre of rainforest in ecuador. They also have other projects like saving the mangroves in India or certain other wildlife in other countries. You can also help specific causes like the Orang Utans in Malaysia or the Asian Elephants. To really "release" an animal, you can donate money to a rehabilitation program that helps to release captive, injured or homeless animals back into the wild.
5) Be a nature volunteer or help spread the word! I've even given brochures to my mom to distribute at her shop in the heartlands but it is such a sensitive issue that people pretend not to see it. Alas, as she said, it's lucky nobody came and threaten violence as it is. But it's heartening that there has since been a reduction in the number of release in Nature Reserves. However, they may instead go to reservoirs and parks! This is why, on Vesak Day, the monkey will be helping to patrol Jurong Lake (beside Lakeside MRT) to make sure nobody tries to release any animals into the lake.
Although according to the article below, it is also suggested that people can "release fishes already caught in the kelong, and release back into the deep sea. For freshwater fishes, there are fishes kept in the tanks at seafood restaurants. You can buy them and release them into the ponds. They are ponds in certain areas that allow people to release fishes there". However, I have seen the ponds in Bright Hill Temple (Guang Ming Shan) where people release turtles and fish. The ponds are so overpopulated and overcrowded that there is no space for the animals to swim or move. Although they are alive, they are living in poor conditions. The best would be to not release at all because all you need to do is to remember that you are responsible for the life of this animal forever. Releasing it into such bad conditions would make you responsible for its suffering. Remember, it can be free instead of 'released'.
Fewer people releasing animals into the wild during Vesak period
By May Wong, Channel NewsAsia
11 May 2006
SINGAPORE : The National Parks Board (NParks) says fewer people are releasing animals into the wild during the Vesak period.
It is hoping this downward trend will continue ahead of Vesak Day celebrations on May 12.
During Vesak Day celebrations, some buddhists would release animals such as fish into the reservoirs.
The act symbolises compassion and respect for life.
But such actions do more harm than good to the animals.
"The animals are not able to fend for themselves. Imagine this, you're kept in a homely environment where you're given food everyday, then all of a sudden, you go into the wild. But where's the food? So in the end, they die of starvation," said Sharon Chan from the National Parks Board.
Last year, NParks saw only seven cases where people released animals into the wild, a significant drop from 44 in 2004.
To keep the cases low, some 100 park rangers and volunteers will comb the reservoirs and nature reserves over the Vesak Day holiday.
Animals released into the wild such as the reservoir die within a day and their decomposed bodies affect the quality of the water.
Things are made much worse if the animals are sick with diseases.
Some of the common animals released are fish and frogs.
The Singapore Buddhist Federation is also educating its devotees to do the right thing.
"The best way is to release fishes already caught in the kelong, and release back into the deep sea. For freshwater fishes, there are fishes kept in the tanks at seafood restaurants. You can buy them and release them into the ponds. They are ponds in certain areas that allow people to release fishes there," said Sik Kwang Sheng, secretary-general of Singapore Buddhist Federation.
Those caught releasing animals into the wild can be fined up to $50,000.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
Posted by Monkey at Thursday, May 11, 2006