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PETA to Obama: Stop Hunting Justification in Gun Control Debate

Written by Alisa Mullins | January 15, 2013

sierrasportsman | cc by 2.0 

As President Barack Obama prepares to release his blueprint for addressing gun violence in the wake of last month’s killings of 26 children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School, PETA has sent him a letter, copying Vice President Joe Biden, with a simple request: Stop pointing to hunting as an example of “responsible” gun ownership. As we explain in our letter, hunting is cruel to the animals who die agonizing and, in many cases, prolonged deaths as well as detrimental to children, who should never be encouraged to hurt or kill animals, since it hardens them to the suffering of others.

Dear Mr. President:

I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters to ask you, as you prepare your statements this week on gun violence, to reconsider your defense of hunting and shooting animals for sport as a justification for gun ownership. In a news conference five days after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, you stated that “the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible—they buy their guns legally, and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sport shooting, collection or protection.” Yet there is nothing “responsible” about making a sport out of killing, about hunting, or about teaching children to hunt. As the mother of a child in elementary school, I cannot imagine telling my son that killing for fun is wrong when the victim is a human but perfectly acceptable when the target is a member of another species, say, a deer or a dove. Children must be taught that all gun violence is wrong, no matter how different from them the victim appears to be.

This mixed message to children can result in deadly consequences for humans as well as for other living beings. Often, we hear of a killer who, as a child, first enjoyed stalking and hunting or torturing and killing animals in other ways. And hunting can indeed be torture. Many hunting victims are injured but not immediately killed, leaving them to endure prolonged, agonizing deaths. So while a ban on hunting may not be in our immediate future, a change in tone could easily be had with a stroke of your speechwriter’s pen.

Americans’ views are evolving on many issues, from same-sex marriage to gun control, and the time is right to reconsider the dangerous message that the practice of killing animals for fun is acceptable and should even be protected. The tragedy that our nation experienced in December presents a perfect opportunity to speak out against gun violence of every kind. In your news conference today [January 14], you asked, “What should we be doing to make sure our children are safe and reduce incidents of gun violence?” And you went on, “If there is a step we can take that will save even one child from what happened in Newtown, we should take that step.” Supporting hunting not only promotes violence to animals but also puts our children at risk by teaching them that taking aim at a living creature is nothing but sport. Either our country is against senseless violence and slaughter, or it isn’t. Please do the right thing. Thank you for your time and consideration.



Tracy Reiman

Executive Vice President

Commenting is closed.
  • J says:

    I am a person who abhors both hunters and hunting, I feel as though I have no rights. My land is being infringed upon by bow target hunters who practice near my dwelling, and I am not allowed to stop this yet they can broach upon my land and privacy and if my pets wander on their property they are subjected to possible death. Why is this fair? Where are my rights. I am a taxpaying citizen who is tired of being out voted by blood thirsty individuals..What can I do about this?

  • Jill SKARDA says:

    Hunting leads to dissolution. When you kill an animal in a time where it is NOT NECESSARY TO LIVE, it is an even bigger Bad karma. Teaching our young that killing is o.k. is very confusing to a child, and will set them on the wrong path for many life choices. Not being Vegan leads to dissolution. You ARE eating anger and fear, and you will start to display those qualities. And as you take on those traits from a bad karmic meal, you become more lost. Please cleanse your self, and do not eat anything that has cruelty in it. I know this is hard to hear if you were brought up eating meat. You have an attachment to your mother who put love and nurturing on the table as meat. So you emotionally react, “how dare you say my mother didn’t nurture me? That was love on the table every day! Not anger and hate.” But your mother was ignorant. Forgive. Go vegan. It helps the planet and your karma. All life is as important as a human child. An a human child is protected when you go Vegan.

  • Barbara says:

    I don’t see anything wrong with hunting. The animal has to die for us to eat it, doesn’t it?? So I’m guessing you’re all vegans? What about abortion? to me, abortion is x1,000 worse than hunting! we need to be more focused on saving innocent babies as apposed to animals that God put on this earth to clothe and feed us. Of course animal abuse is wrong, but we need to speak out on abortion more than hunting and how eating meat is “wrong”.

    • Grant Schellhase says:

      Finally someone has some sense. Thank you

    • Heather says:

      This isn’t about abortion. If that is your main concern of all the issues in the world, then go address it in the appropriate place. Thing is, we need people who focus on even the issues that you feel is less important. What if every human being focused on only abortion? Then other issues would never get solved. Animal abuse, world hunger, the rainforest, ect. We need a balance so that every issue gets attention. And we need people who focus on animal issues first, just like we need people who focus on humanity first. So do not talk down to those who are trying to help animals first.

  • buckblaster says:

    when Marina Drake said this “President Obama is a smart and compassionate man who is more than capable of hearing us on this issue and doing the right thing. To stop sanctioned abuse and killing of animals is essential if we are to survive and thrive on this planet.” she insults our country by calling him smart and compassionate. He does not know what he is doing and is forcing the working people to pay health care for those people to lazy to work themselves. His ideas are to left wing to help us at all and that is probably why you want him to do something because left wing lunatics work well together.I am a white southern male who has been educated. who does not like our president. It is not racism it is that his job is to help our country,something he has not done, and he should have been fired but California and New York like him to much. If the electorial college was changed before the election like it has been know Romney would have been elected and our failure would be out of office.

  • Rita Ross says:

    The person who wrote “Lisa, you’re crazy” is an embarrassment as well as a pitiful coward that he does not show his name. Who cares about her English? This coward talks about Lisa’s knowledge of English when everyone else is talking and concerned about the cruelty of hunting.

  • jc says:

    Bottom line the president is not going to ban hunting…

  • shrirang says:

    Sir, Please help to stop this cruelty.

  • shrirang says:

    Sir, Please stop this cruelty.Your Help can save many lives.

  • Marina Drake says:

    How many people thought, a hundred years ago, even twenty years ago, that we would ever have a president who was not a white man? President Obama is a smart and compassionate man who is more than capable of hearing us on this issue and doing the right thing. To stop sanctioned abuse and killing of animals is essential if we are to survive and thrive on this planet. Dr. Will Tuttle, author of “The World Peace Diet: Eating for Spiritual Health and Social Harmony” says: “Every day, we cause over thirty million birds and mammals and forty-five million fish to be fatally attacked so we can eat them, and it’s universally considered to be good food for good people. With these meals, we feed our shadow, which grows strong and bold as it gorges itself on our repressed grief, guilt, and revulsion.”

  • Paula says:

    Mr. President, please do not defend hunting. As you know animals deserve the right to leave as much as people do! Hunting is not a sport, it’s an assassination act undertaken by cruel and ignorant people. Nobody should need to kill another being! Let’s be better, let’s be peaceful!

  • lisa you're crazy says:

    Lisa, you’re a bit insane m’lady. Do they offer education over there in the UK? If so, you may want to go back and revisit some courses on grammar and overall sentence structure… yours is terrible. And the points you’re trying to make just come off as laughable when hidden behind that obvious third grade education.

  • tania says:

    Stop the violence with guns!!!

  • Shivani says:

    Please ban hunting!!!

  • Nina Jehangir says:

    Its not about what makes us popular, its about whats right.

  • Will says:

    Love your site.I have a question which I have no answer for.People ask “what about peopls who live where no crops grow ?” such as Eskimos, Inuits etc.who rely on meat to survive.Can we use Peta funds to ship them non meat foods? How do I answer them?

  • Gunn says:

    Please stop the hunting.

  • Manjit S Dhillon says:

    How can killing of inferior life can be termed as ‘Game’ .Imagine if there was a superior life to humans and they killed us as ‘Game’.I strongly disapprove killing of any animals for any reason.

  • macarena says:

    Hunting animals is not for fun at all!!, It’s only for sick people, this shouldn’t be tolerated it, and what is worst is that they are teaching their children to do the samething.. Stop it now!!! No more violence!!!!

  • Victor says:

    It’s 2013 and we still have this problem? When will people get it. President Obama can’t do anything as government action takes so freakin long to get into action. Just terrible to see people hunting animals. If this is ok, then why can’t we hunt all the sexual predators or killers running loose on the streets right? Oh but that is inhumane . But this isn’t?

  • Kirstin Kucy says:

    Very well said and completely agree!! Something needs to change and I hope this letter gets you one step closer!!! Now to have to same done in Canada!!!! Hunting should be banned in all countries. Killing innocent animals for fun is a discrace!!!!

  • Tayo says:

    The act of killing animals for what is referred to as ‘fun’ is a senseless act of insensitivity, stupidity and violence. It must stop.

  • Lisanne says:

    Even Obama should know that if the shooter at Sandy Hook couldn’t kill his victims with one bullet, how could a hunter kill HIS victims with one bullet? He is so out of reach with reality (pertaining to animals at least), it’s pitiful. Wake up Mr. Obama, humans aren’t the only ones on this planet that want to live in peace, free from suffering and pain. I don’t know where the “inferiority” of animals started, but it needs to end.

  • Catherine says:

    Absolutely agree with this. President Obama, killing animals is WRONG and the prerequisite for hunters to kills humands, which they do and say it was an accident. Hunting is not only dangerous it is unlawful and should be stopped immediately. Hunters are crazy and get their kicks out of seeing animals suffer in their death. It is disgusting. How would you feel if you were that deer that got shot? Seriously think about it. “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi ”

  • Noda says:

    You are a coward if you hide and you want to shot a poor innocent ANIMAL, for whatever your reason may be, a selfish reason to end a life of a living wild animal that wants to live. You shot this animal that is eating gras, Smelling the air and enjoying their natural wild life WHILE YOU HIDE AND SHOOT THEM, SHAM ON YOU you are nothing.

  • Evelina Rosa Soares says:

    É triste saber que em muitos países a caça seja legal, amparada por lei. Caça é crime hediondo, contra a natureza e animais. Ir no habitat natural… perseguir, não dando a menor chance ao animal inocente e indefeso. No Brasil caçar é crime inafiançável ! Horrível que em muitos países de primeiro mundo isso é aceitável e é legal.

  • dameon hansen says:

    I completely agree hunting is cruel and in our society no longer needed for producing food . It should be eliminated .

  • dameon hansen says:

    I completely agree hunting needs to be stopped. right now in this society there is no need for hunting. we can get all of our food without hunting any animals at all. I do not agree with killing any animal for any reason

  • Danny says:

    President Obama, I urge you to repeal your defense of gun ownership for hunting animals. Hunting defenseless animals, particularly for sport, is morally wrong. Please do the right thing and ban gun ownership for hunting animals.

  • Emilia Silva says:

    Killing is killing, any time you trivialize life you are playing God. I know there is a lot of money in the gun industry, but when are we going to do the moral thing instead of the profitable one?

  • Chris Butler says:

    At this point I’m afraid you’ll lose this battle forever. The reason being? Deer and boar and several other animals are hunted because they are a threat to themselves or to the population at large. Deer will balloon up in population so fast that if not kept in check by humans (since before you existed our ancestors killed off most of their natural predators). Pigs, especially in America, become boars in a matter of 2 generations. Pigs have no qualms with killing and eating even those taking care of them, as exampled by the farmer who was eaten by his pigs a few months ago. Boar are worse because of being wild. To be honest I’m hoping this will open a lot of your eyes to this problem, but I’m not going to expect to.

  • Michael a fellow hunter says:

    As a fellow hunter i find it stupid that you guys rip on us hunters saying we cause all these problems. Alot of us hunters are out making sure we do clean shot and putting them down as quickly as possible. So dont blame us.

  • Alex Soroka says:

    If you stop hunting, prey populations will rise dramatically. We took out wolves and now there is nothing to control deer and elk. We must hunt so the herbivores do not cause excessive damage. Example? deer will forage right up to the edges of creeks and rivers, destabilizing the riparian zone. Once they remove the veg, the river recieves a higher level of silt which includes great nutrient concentrations. This leads to water quality issues further damaging our freshwater resources. Why does PETA not consider fish?

  • Celia Holman says:

    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” Mahatma Gandhi “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtfully committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead

  • Thisguy says:

    Hunting is a sport and is necessary. If i us hunters did not hunt your pretty little flower gardens would be over run by deer and other pests

  • talton says:

    are you kidding me? I hunt when I need to put food in my fridge. I don’t pick and choose what deer to harvest. “Most” hunters are responsible and strive to make a clean and quick kill. I don’t want to see any animal suffer, but the truth of the matter is animals are here to provide food, its part of the natural cycle. Animals eat animals, Eating store bought meat that is full of chemicals and you still do not know how that animal was treated in the “plant” it was processed in. I guess you would rather hit the deer with your car. I for one love animals and have several that OWN my house. But its time to grow up, harvesting animals from the wild is always better for you than eating store bought crap.

  • Janet Martucci says:

    Stop defending hunters that kill for sport.

  • Gabe says:

    What would you suggest Lisa, that we eradicate wolves? Then we will have to murder all predators until the last predator is gone and we live in fairy tale land. Better eliminate all of the fish and birds that prey on insects.Better eliminate all of the predatory insects as well.Come to think of it, even herbivores eat plants, maybe they should be eliminated as well.Before you point the finger at the US you had better analyze some of your own countries history, that of the most imperialistic slave trading and most violent in the history of the world.You should realize that predators are a natural and necessary part of the food chain, and without them, life wold not exist as we know it.Predators cull the weak and diseased to strengthen the species. Would you rather that they over proliferate and die of an agonizing disease? I am a hunter, and not a savage. I support the humane and ethical treatment of animals. I love the fact that PETA fights against the consumption of veal and foie gras, but articles and positions like this severely detract from your credibility. Hunters do more to conserve the environment than PETA will ever achieve in their wildest dreams.

  • Michael says:

    I think hunting and killing people is quite different than a good duck or deer hunt. My father hunted all his life, and we as children grew to respect the animals that God provides for us to eat. You people are violently misguided. Michael.

  • Andrew Bishop says:

    i hunt. i enjoy it. i kill only what i need nothing more. i never take a shot that i cant make. true there are some sick indivduals who shoot things for pure ammusement. but not all hunters are like that. hunting is appart of my culture. i grew up hunting and fishing. i’ve been doing it for over 15 years and the thought of killing another innocent human being has never crossed my mind. if it disgust you then by means get back on the plane you came in and go somewhere else. animals must have predators to maintain healthy populations to keep a balance in their environment. better a relatively quick death from a bullet than to starve or become sick. also sportsman contribute the most to the preservation of wild life and their habitats. our country is a mess because weve kicked god out of our schools and how of our society.

  • Steve says:

    Hunting is part of human nature and besides wild game tastes so much better than anything store bought and it’s much cheaper. No sane person gets kicks out of watching anything suffer, if you think that is what hunting is than you’re an idiot plane and simple. Hunters and fisherman put more money back to help wildlife then PETA and any other animal rights organization could ever dream of doing for the betterment of our natural resources as well as wildlife. Please stop being so ignorant and step into reality. Humanity has become very sad and to many truths have been misconstrued. I’m left reading this message board just that more disgusted than I was before.

  • Christine says:

    I’m a HARD CORE vegan, but I love my gun! It protects me from all the psycho/horrid people out there that have guns and should not, because they don’t know how to use them correctly! People kill people–NOT GUNS!!! DUH! When guns become illegal, I will be an outlaw with a gun so I can protect myself from all psycho people. I only use my gun for self defense, and I would never use my gun to harm any animal. Animals are innocent, and don’t deserve to be tortured or harmed by guns, or in any manner! Go VEGAN! It rocks, makes you beautiful–inside and out! I love you Ingrid and PETA!

  • RICHARD says:

    It’s to bad that alot of guys think they have to kill animals to feel tough. What we have is a primitive attitude that might makes right. Most of these people won’t be able to ever change but the next generation will be a little better.It just takes time .

  • Rachel says:

    A well-written and poignant letter that will hopefully be heard. Thank you for standing up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

  • lisa says:

    Hunters get their kicks out of watching an animal suffer and die especially wolves they do not kill the animal humanly they like to watch it take its last breath and your President approves it??? no wonder your Country is in a mess

  • lisa says:

    Seriously your Country is a disgrace to the rest of the world, here in the UK when we hear of innocent little school children shot and killed we are not shocked we look at it as the norm for America and say this wont be the last, more innocent lives will be lost. As for your President making remark hunting to be responsible gun ownership well maybe he should look back earlier last year when a hunter trapped a wolf and other hunters were driving by using him as a target practice getting their kicks out of watching this animal in pain and bleeding to death this went global on the internet people from all over the world posted comments of their disgust even alot of americans followed by abuse and insults from hunters. If Obama wants respect then he seriously needs to change his ways.

  • summer says:

    I completely agree with this! I couldn’t have said it any better. Hunting is so sad and wrong. I cannot believe it is something people enjoy doing, it is truly sickening. Living in the U.S. now but being originally from The Netherlands, where this is something that NEVER happens, it is disgusting to hear Americans say that hunting is apart of their culture. Thank-you for writing this!! It will make a difference!

  • Andrea Soto says:

    President Obama, I can not believe you are encouraging people to hurt other “inferior” beings. In the end, it’s killing!

  • Nancy says:

    please stop.