'Life release' ritual is a vicious cycle that only ends in death

By Phu Dung   August 29, 2023 | 05:49 am PT
'Life release' ritual is a vicious cycle that only ends in death
A man releases fish from a bucket in a "life release" ritual in HCMC. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
I don't think people get what "life release," the act of releasing animals, is about.

The ongoing seven lunar month, which peaks on the full moon day Wednesday, is celebrated as the month of wandering souls, and many Vietnamese practice releasing animals as an act of mercy.

But is it really mercy or torture?

I have seen snails squirming under the sun as the moisture escapes their bodies, birds squeezing themselves within the cages as they suffocate themselves to death, fish struggling to breathe when the water barely reached their gills.

To release a life means saving a living creature from the clutch of death, to give them a chance to live and dissuade their fear. When we do it with love; it will become a beautiful celebration of life.

But these days, many are doing it to earn scores. They turn a blind eye to the fact that they have fostered a business that catches and collects animals for sale, to be released. Many birds and fish are taken away from their natural environments and kept in captivity. By the time they are released, they would have no strength left to carry on their lives normally. Then they would be caught again, kept in cages, and get released in a vicious cycle that only ends with death.

I believe we should change our mindset on this practice, and we should do so as soon as possible to not only protect the animals, but the environment as well. Life release done wrong not only harms animals' lives, but also make us complicit with bad actors.

The opinions expressed here are personal and do not necessarily match VnExpress's viewpoints. Send your opinions here.
go to top