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Taiwanese Government Proposes Ban on Mercy Releases

Officials want to prohibit the Buddhist rite, which it says causes millions of animals to die each year.


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The Taiwanese government is looking to ban mercy releases—a Buddhist rite during which people release captive animals into the wild in an effort to improve their karma and good fortune. According to French news agency Agence France-Presse, tens of millions of animals, largely consisting of birds and fish, die each year as a result of the spiritual ceremony, often due to lack of food and inhospitable habitats. Furthermore, Humane Society International argues that releasing animals into new environments can disrupt fragile ecosystems, causing species to compete for food and space and promoting the spread of disease. As a result, the government is proposing a law that would force individuals convicted of performing a mercy release to face up to two years of jail time or an $85,000 fine.

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