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Teaching Your Kid to Kill Is Lousy Lesson, Says Group
For Immediate Release:November 28, 2012
Contact:Kaitlynn Kelly 202-483-7382
He was a late entry and had some tough competition,
including a parent who tied a toddler up outside a betting parlor, a motorcycle
rider who placed a plastic bag over his child's head instead of a helmet, and a
man who tattooed his baby, but Rep. Paul Ryan won, because someone who
holds high public office simply should know better. This Thanksgiving weekend,
in a highly publicized move, Ryan, who had bought his 10-year-old daughter,
Liza, a high-powered weapon, took her out into the woods and had her shoot and
kill a deer for light entertainment. And today, PETA has notified Ryan that he
has been named PETA's Bad Dad 2012 (certificate
available here), explaining in a letter from PETA's president that parents
should teach their children to be kind to animals and to choose nonviolent,
helpful activities over those that result in maiming and death.
"You can't teach kids to be tough, if that was the
purpose, by encouraging them to kill those who can't defend themselves,"
writes PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "Being a good dad means
encouraging children to engage in safe, peaceful, and fun ways for them to
enjoy nature, including canoeing, bird watching, biking, and hiking—even clearing the woods of hunters' beer cans
and other trash would be a blessing."
For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA's letter to Ryan follows.
November 28, 2012
The Honorable Paul RyanUnited States House of Representatives
Dear Representative Ryan:
On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’
(PETA) more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide, including
thousands in Wisconsin, I am writing to present you with PETA’s Bad Dad Award
(your certificate is on the way). You deserve the award because, instead of
teaching your young daughter respect for wildlife and encouraging her to
embrace nonviolence, you gave her a gun and encouraged her to kill animals for
You seem to have a desperate need to assert your
old-fashioned idea of manhood, to wield power over those who can’t defend
themselves, even to the point of stealing their very lives for nothing more
than the perverse thrill of it. I imagine there must be a lot of people who are
disappointed in your lack of empathy, not only for those who are unarmed in the
face of the fancy weaponry that helps you do your dirty work but also more
broadly. I suspect that while you love your daughter, you don’t understand that
the love of one’s offspring is shared by other living beings, including deer,
whose fawns become orphaned when they are killed. And given that your daughter
was “practicing,” one wonders if she is already among the ranks of hunters
responsible for allowing deer to flee wounded, only to die out of sight, slowly
and in agony.
How appalling to use your influence to desensitize your
child to the suffering of others. In fact, the young people who have opened
fire on their schoolmates—including 16-year-old Andrew Golden who, along with
an accomplice, killed five people at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark.,
and 17-year-old T.J. Lane, who killed three people at Chardon High School near
Cleveland earlier this year, had first expressed their love of hunting animals.
In light of this fact alone, it seems grossly irresponsible to encourage a
child to kill for “fun.”
You can’t teach kids to be tough, if that was the purpose,
by encouraging them to kill those who can’t defend themselves. Being a good dad
means encouraging children to engage in safe, peaceful, and fun ways for them
to enjoy nature, including canoeing, bird watching, biking, and hiking—even
clearing the woods of hunters’ beer cans and other trash would be a blessing.
While this letter is blunt, its point is to ask you to ponder the value of
encouraging compassion in your daughter, as well as in your other children, by
switching to humane family activities.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. NewkirkPresident
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.