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Around the world, hundreds of millions of animals are released into the wild through the Buddhist practice known as “mercy release.” The tradition is based on the belief that freeing a captured animal creates good karma, bringing a person good fortune in this life and better prospects for the next.


The tradition of mercy release began centuries ago with spontaneous acts of compassion toward animals. Unfortunately, the modern version causes enormous suffering and environmental damage. Temples may purchase thousands of animals to be "freed" in a single day. Trapped animals can sustain injuries from nets or snares, suffocate or starve in transit, or become easy prey on release. Let go outside their natural ranges, they can spread disease, compete for food and territory, or threaten gene pools by mating with native species.

Instead of participating in mercy release, we suggest creating good karma through acts that truly help animals.

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