Buddhist monks in eastern Canada have returned eight crate-loads of live lobsters that were destined for the dinner table back to the ocean.
Some 600 pounds of the crustaceans were released into the waters off the coast of Prince Edward Island by monks from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society on Saturday.
“Hopefully, we can find a spot where there are no cages waiting for them,” Venerable Dan, one of the monks, told CBC News.
The lobsters, which were blessed with purified water and received prayer before being re-granted their freedom, came from multiple businesses across the island, reports The Zone.
It’s not known how much the monks spent on purchasing the lobsters, nor the exact species they freed. But with a pound of lobster sometimes costing up to $8 in grocery stores, it’s possible they may have forked out as much as $4,800 on the gesture. The Huffington Post has reached out for comment.
Venerable Dan said the monks were not trying to convince people to become vegetarian or vegan, but instead hoped it would spread a sense of compassion.
“This whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others,” he told CBC News. “It doesn’t have to be lobsters, it can be worms, flies, any animals, drive slower so we don’t run over little critters on the street.”
Other Buddhist monks performed a similar act off the coast of northern Massachusetts in 2011, when they also freed 600 pounds of lobsters into the ocean.
“Even if they get captured again, they’ve had a longer life,” Wendy Cook, former director at the Kurukulla Center for Tibetan Buddhist Studies in Medford, told Reuters at the time.