I took this picture because I liked the bird cages, I thought they looked cute, but the truth behind them is not so cute.
Many people in SE Asia believe that if they release birds, it happens with other animals, like turtles, too, they will be awarded with good karma. Any bad luck they have experienced will be transported away with the animals and they will only receive good luck from then on. For Buddhists, this is a traditional way of life and one that has been carried out for centuries. Unfortunately for the wildlife, they have to be captured in the first place in order to be set free and, according to one article, 700,000 birds are used for this purpose every year.
The same article, written in July 2017, goes on to say that the Thai Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has begun to raise public awareness of just how cruel the releasing of birds and animals actually is and many temples have followed suit with signs encouraging people not to support the trade.
I guess time will tell whether these plans come to fruition but, in the meantime, even if you think that this act is “nice to do” please think of the animals and help to support the protection of wildlife. 🙂