Montana hunter Chase Dellwo was out hunting elk when he was attacked by a grizzly bear. He accidentally startled the sleeping animal and only escaped with his life when he disturbed the bear’s gag reflex by shoving his arm down the bear’s throat.
However, Dellwo did not blame the attack on the bear. He said afterward that it wasn’t the bear’s fault and that the animal was scared, just like he was.
When PETA heard about his compassionate remarks about the bear, we were touched. However, bears are not the only animals who feel pain and fear. We’re sending Dellwo flowers and a letter wishing him a speedy recovery, thanking him for his remarks about the bear, and asking him to consider ditching hunting—of all animals—for good.
The following letter is from PETA President Ingrid Newkirk to Chase Dellwo:
October 6, 2015
Dear Mr. Dellwo,
I am writing on behalf of PETA to wish you well in your recovery and to ask you to take a few moments to reflect on the incident of this past weekend. We were touched by your compassionate comments about the bear who attacked you. Thank you for putting the encounter into perspective. I’d like to urge you to extend that kindness to other animals by reconsidering hunting them and letting them live out their lives unmolested.
I’m sure you know that elk, bears, and other animals form strong, protective bonds with their young, just as human beings do, and, like us, they feel pain and fear as well as joy and love, and they value their lives. Hunting tears these bonds apart. Many hunted animals suffer—for hours, days, and sometimes weeks—as a result of nonfatal wounds. I know you were in pain from this incident, but please consider the long-term, unrelieved suffering of injured animals and imagine how you’d feel if you were to lose track of an animal after wounding but not killing him or her.
We commend you for your public comment that the attack was not the bear’s fault and that he was as scared as you were. With all the attention that your story has received, please take this opportunity to leave people with the image of someone who, while potentially facing his own end, had compassion for the animal who was threatening his life. Please consider not hunting elk or any other animals, who would experience the same fear and panic that you and the bear did. We hope you’ll choose to enjoy nature in exclusively nonviolent ways.
Thank you for your consideration.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk