Kagyu Monlam supports campaign to Save Wild Birds
10 December, 2014 Bodhgaya
Following on from the Animal Camp, Kagyu Monlam, in association with Khoryug [the Gyalwang Karmapa’s environmental protection organisation], the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and SARAH, and with the support of the local police, has launched a poster campaign in Bodhgaya and the surrounding area to try to halt the trade in wild birds.
In Buddhist tradition, life release, buying animals such as goats or fish destined for slaughter and rehoming them in an animal sanctuary or returning them to the river, is considered an important compassionate act which also accumulates much merit.
However, in the Bodh Gaya area, people go into the jungle and capture wild birds. They bring them into the town in cages and encourage Buddhist pilgrims to pay to release them. Sadly, such acts of genuine kindness have several negative consequences. Firstly, it is a cruel practice and many birds are killed or injured in the process. Secondly, many wild birds are not adapted to a town habitat and die of starvation or thirst when they are released. Thirdly, once all the birds have been sold, the vendors return to the jungle to capture more, depleting the population of wild birds. Finally, the act of capturing and buying wild birds is illegal and the people involved risk imprisonment or a large fine.
Each year whether to pay to release these caged wild birds is a dilemma which faces thousands of Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world who visit Bodhgaya. The aim of the campaign is to inform them and those who carry out the trade of the consequences.