After Teen Jumps Onto Back of Panicked, Exhausted Deer, PETA Calls for Lessons in Kindness

Group Stresses Need to Teach Compassion in Classrooms After Disturbing Video Ended Up on Social Media

For Immediate Release:
December 16, 2019

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Harney County, Ore. – Following reports that a local teenager was arrested after a video showed him riding on the back of a distressed deer while the animal was trapped inside a fenced area, TeachKind—PETA’s humane education division—sent a letter this morning urging the superintendent of the Harney Education Service District, Shannon Criss, to implement lessons in compassion immediately.

TeachKind offered the district free “Every Living Being Matters: Report Abuse If You See It!” posters for middle and high schools and sent Criss its “Share the World” curriculum kits for elementary schools, which include lesson plans that aim to foster empathy for animals and are appropriate for even the youngest learners. The kits also help educators meet the expectations of Oregon law, which states, “In public schools special emphasis shall be given to instruction in … [h]umane treatment of animals.”

“This young person bullied a terrified deer and pulled on his antlers as another suspect filmed the abuse for social media,” says PETA Director of Student Campaigns and Influence Rachelle Owen. “PETA is offering to help Harney schools implement humane education to prevent future acts of cruelty against animals.”

TeachKind notes that, according to leading mental-health professionals and law-enforcement agencies, perpetrators of violent acts against animals are often repeat offenders who pose a serious threat to the community at large. Its staff is available to send materials to schools, suggest lesson plans, and even host classroom presentations for students via Skype—all for free.

TeachKind—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. The group’s letter to Criss is available here. For more information, please visit

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind