To the editor:
When doves are released at weddings, funerals and at other events, they are apt to starve, freeze or be eaten by predators.
On Jan. 26 at the Vatican, a seagull and a large black crow attacked two doves that were released by children standing alongside Pope Francis.
These birds are usually inbred, can't fly well and otherwise lack survival skills. Please don't replace birds with butterflies for ceremonial releases. Butterflies are usually shipped long distances in boxes, into which they are placed in small, flat envelopes.
A guest at one wedding posted on the Internet that "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 also spread disease and parasites to local populations.
Since ceremonial dove and butterfly releases are supposedly intended to reflect 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."
Chairman, Public Education Committee
Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate New York