Keep events animal-free

When doves are released at weddings, funerals and other events, they are apt to starve or be eaten by predators. On Jan. 26, at the Vatican, a seagull and a black crow attacked two doves released alongside Pope Francis. These birds are usually in-bred, can’t fly well and otherwise lack survival skills.

Don’t release doves, but please don’t replace birds with butterflies for ceremonial releases. Butterflies are usually shipped long distance in boxes, into which they are placed in small, flat envelopes.

A guest at one wedding posted on the Internet – “the bride chose to release small butterflies. It was the most appalling sight we have ever witnessed. Half of them had broken wings or were near dead. People were stomping on them to put them out of their misery. How anyone could think this is pretty or romantic is beyond me.”

The surviving butterflies usually can’t cope with strange, hostile environments. And they may spread diseases and parasites to local populations.

Since ceremonial and butterfly releases are supposedly intended to symbolize peace, let’s heed Dr. Albert Schweitzer – “until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.”

JOEL FREEDMAN,

Chairman of Education Committee, Animal Rights Advocate of Upstate New York