Back on July 9th, 2016, if you took the ferry off of Wood Islands, PEI, you might have had a chance to see monks putting live lobsters back into the ocean. Monks of The Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute bought 600 lbs of lobsters, hoping to find a spot "where there are no cages waiting for them".
Before releasing the lobsters, the monks prayed and chanted for 20 minutes to the Buddha of compassion. In Buddhism, there are many Buddhas, and each Buddha may represent one or a few of the qualities a living being may possess. The local fishermen of Wood Islands were supportive; they helped the monks find a good place where lobsters had a low chance of being recaptured. Many local citizens also supported the monks' activities.
It is important to understand that the end goal of this event is not to convince anyone to change dietary choices. It is to "cultivate compassion" as the monks said, not only for the lobsters but hopefully for all beings. Compassion can be brought to insects, reptiles, etc. and any being that one may otherwise dislike. Most spiders and snakes will often let us be if we do the same. Some may be harmful but do not deserve to die, as some relatives may be mean but do not deserve to get hurt. The monks hoped that one could more often step into other living beings' shoes and look from their point of view.
Unfortunately, hours after the release took place, some people vandalized Splendid Essence, a Buddhist restaurant at PEI. Many items and installations in the restaurant were broken and/or pulled apart. The owners were collaborators and followers of the Buddhist Institute, and they did not want to speculate as to whether the events were linked. Needless to say, such an act cannot easily be understood. Perhaps it was due to anger or an attempt to prove the monks that they did wrong. The latter bought--did not steal--the lobsters as anyone should, only, it was in larger quantities. Their compassion was tried, and they remained compassionate.