By Alicia Graef

Hundreds of lobsters avoided being boiled alive thanks to a group of Buddhist monks from Prince Edward Island.

The monks, who are from the Great Enlightenment Buddhist Institute Society, bought the lobsters—600 pounds worth of them—solely with the intention of returning them to their rightful home in the ocean.

Venerable Dan, a spokesman for the monks who were involved in the mission, told the CBC that the purpose of the effort was to cultivate compassion for all living beings. Before taking them back out to sea, the monks held a ceremony where they prayed and chanted to the Buddha of compassion.

Before the release, they also blessed the lobsters with purified water and later gently removed the bands that bound their claws.

According to the CBC, local fishermen helped them find a location where the lobsters would be safe from being caught again.

"We respect everyone's dietary choice, so we're not doing this to convert everybody to be vegetarians or vegans," Venerable Dan said. "This whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others. 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."

The effort was an incredibly thoughtful approach towards raising awareness about about other beings and how precious their lives are to them, while showing just how easy it is to be compassionate.

They might not have made a direct call for change, but their actions made it virtually impossible not to reconsider how our behavior is affecting individual animals and entire other species, who continue to be used for food, clothing and entertainment … especially for species like lobsters who aren't all cute and fluffy.

Sadly for lobsters and other crustaceans, they're granted virtually no protection from the harm we regularly inflict on them, despite what we've known for a while now about their ability to feel pain and remember it.

"If your loved ones were in this situation, what would they like you to do?" Venerable Dan said. "To give them a helping hand and put them back to where they feel comfortable and we believe if everybody's able to do that, it will become a better place, a more harmonic place."

Hopefully this rescue effort will inspire more people to show kindness and to give other beings we don't fully understand the benefit of the doubt when it comes to their ability to enjoy their lives and experience pain and suffering.

For more fascinating facts about marine life, reasons to leave them off our plates and vegan seafood recipes, check out Fish Feel.