Target: Visiting Nurse Home Care & Hospice of Carroll County, and the Evergreen Institute for Wellness
Goal: Prevent butterflies from being captured, transported, and released into an unfamiliar environment
The Visiting Nurse Home Care & Hospice of Carroll County and the Evergreen Institute for Wellness are two New Hampshire facilities that plan to participate in a butterfly release event at the Be Kind Festival in North Conway, New Hampshire. The idea is a touching one—to release butterflies in memory of loved ones who have passed on, the website explaining “the butterfly’s dark body represents grief. Emerging from its cocoon reflects courage. Its delicate pattern symbolizes memories. And its bright colors represent love.” Though these intentions are pure, a butterfly release is quite cruel to the butterflies, and with more than 400 people planning to attend the event, according to Facebook, hundreds of butterflies are in danger.
Butterflies that are purchased for butterfly release events are captured from their home environment or bred in an unnatural setting, then shipped in boxes or envelopes, sometimes over long distances. Many die along the way from being crushed or from exposure. Once the butterflies who survive the journey are finally released at the event, many more struggle to fly, or fall to the ground from exhaustion. Most will die not long after release due to their new unfamiliar, and often unsuitable, environment. The few who do survive all of this hardship can spread disease to local insects as well as to vegetation through pollination, causing a negative impact on the local environment.
Urge the Visiting Nurse Home Care & Hospice and the Evergreen Institute for Wellness to find a more humane way to remember their loved ones—perhaps making paper butterfly kites, balloons or paper lanterns to release into the air. Killing an innocent, beautiful butterfly seems contradictory to the event’s well-intentioned cause in finding hope and life after death.
Dear Visiting Nurse Home Care & Hospice of Carroll County and the Evergreen Institute for Wellness,
Please find an alternative gesture that will allow you to remember your loved ones who have passed on without harming innocent, beautiful butterflies. Butterflies are captured from their homes, or bred in an unnatural environment, and shipped to you in small boxes or envelopes for events such as your Be Kind Festival. Many butterflies do not survive the trip, as they are often brutally crushed in transit. Those who do often struggle to take flight upon release, many falling to the ground. The few who are able to fly are a risk to local insects and vegetation, often spreading disease. Many will die not long after release from being in an unfamiliar, and sometimes unsuitable, environment for them.
With all of the suffering and death involved in the butterfly release event, it seems contradictory to continue with this event in light of the event’s purpose of bringing hope and comfort to grieving families. Please consider a humane alternative, one that no one will have to die for. Perhaps guests could create their own paper butterfly kite in honor of their loved one, and let them go. A balloon or a paper lantern could work equally well, and attendees could insert a message to their loved one into the balloon or write the message on the lantern. This would not only allow for the release to be more personalized, but it would be much more humane, and would show respect for all life, including the lives of defenseless butterflies.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Public Domain Image