‘Bad Dad Award’ Goes to Man Who Gave His 9-Year-Old a Bear-Killing Birthday Party

PETA Calls Alberta Hunter's Actions 'Cowardly' and 'Grossly Irresponsible'

For Immediate Release:
September 18, 2015

Contact:
Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Grand Prairie, Alberta – For teaching his 9-year-old son and his son’s friends to kill for fun, an Alberta man is receiving PETA’s Bad Dad Award. Greg Sutley—in what may have been a shameless stunt to promote his hunting outfit—recently came under fire from international media for a video he posted online of his young son’s birthday party, where the boy used a high-powered rifle to shoot a bear, who had been lured into the area with a barrel of food, in the head. As the animal collapsed, bleeding onto the ground, the gathered children cheered and laughed over the bear’s death.

In a letter sent to Sutley this afternoon notifying him that he will soon receive the “Bad Dad” certificate in the mail, PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—challenges his baited hunts, which are reminiscent of the one that killed Cecil the lion, as “cowardly” and points out that hunting desensitizes children to violence.

“When nearly every serial killer and school shooter got his start by killing animals, it seems grossly irresponsible to teach any child to relish in picking up a gun, aiming it at a living being, and opening fire,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA’s ‘Bad Dad Award’ is a reminder that all parents must start making lessons in compassion a priority. Teaching children to shoot with a camera instead of a gun teaches them the valuable lesson of empathy.”

For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Greg Sutley follows.

September 18, 2015

Dear Mr. Sutley,

On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and our more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide, 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 son respect for wildlife and encouraging him to embrace nonviolence, you gave him a gun and encouraged him to kill bears for fun.

Years ago, I saw another “bad dad” force his son, who was about 8 years old, to watch as a group of men gunned down birds, even though the upset child hugged his father’s leg and wanted to look away. There are plenty of grown men who resent their fathers for making them participate in acts of violence that they now deeply regret, even if those fathers were living by the outdated idea that boys had to become hardened. Paramount among the regrets we hear about are shooting, injuring, and killing animals who were simply living their lives.

Only a mean person would lure bears to a site with food and then, from the safety of a tree perch, pick off these fascinating animals with a high-powered gun, as you did. It takes an even smaller person to teach an impressionable young person that such cowardly killing is appropriate for a celebration of his birthday, as if he were to imagine that he were some sort of natural-born killer. How sad it is that you try to desensitize your child and his friends to the suffering of others. In fact, many of the young people who have opened fire on their schoolmates—like 11-year-old Andrew Golden, who, along with an accomplice, killed five people at his middle school, and 17-year-old T. J. Lane, who killed three people at a high school—had previously expressed that they had been taught to enjoy hunting. In light of this fact alone, it is grossly irresponsible to encourage a child to take pleasure in killing. And in an age in which few people hunt and trophy hunting is reviled as the pastime of psychopaths, you have taught your son a cruel, anachronistic hobby that will surely hinder his development into adulthood.

I’m sure your hunter buddies will try to have you shrug this off, but being a good parent means encouraging children to interact with nature by showing respect for our fellow living beings and enjoying canoeing, bird-watching, biking, and hiking—even clearing the woods of hunters’ beer cans and other trash. Although this letter is blunt, we sincerely ask you to consider the value of encouraging compassion in your son.

Very truly yours,
ingrid newkirk
Ingrid E. Newkirk
President

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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