In Light of New Study on Wildlife Stress, PETA Asks Gov. Bentley to Launch Initiative to Ban Drones Used for Hunting

For Immediate Release:
September 2, 2015

Catie Cryar 202-483-7382

Montgomery, Ala. – New research from the University of Minnesota puts drones on the no-fly list for wild animals, following observations that revealed that bears experience extreme stress—including a 400 percent increase in heart rate—when drones enter their habitat. PETA is responding to the news by removing “Air Angels” drones from its catalog and asking Alabama Gov. Robert J. Bentley, in a letter sent to him today, to spearhead an initiative to ban the use of drones for hunting—and all other uses that interfere with the natural behavior of wildlife.

“The evidence is in that drones stress wildlife, so if hunters are as ethical as they purport to be, they’ll have no trouble agreeing to a ban,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA will no longer sell its ‘Air Angels’ drones, and we’re calling on Governor Bentley to spare animals additional terror and pain by pushing for legislation in Alabama that ends drone use for hunting in the state.”

PETA, whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way,” has sold popular “Air Angels” drones to animal-conscious individuals since October 2013 for use in tracking down hunters who bait in illegal areas and commit other crimes.

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PETA’s letter to Gov. Robert J. Bentley follows.

September 2, 2015

The Honorable Robert J. Bentley
Governor of Alabama

Dear Governor Bentley,

I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, including thousands across Alabama, with regard to a recent University of Minnesota study on unmanned aerial vehicles—commonly called drones. The study found that bears exhibit severe stress responses when they see drones overhead, and in some cases, their heart rates increased by 400 percent. And of course, other animals would experience the same distress. In light of this new evidence demonstrating that drones negatively affect wildlife, PETA has immediately stopped selling our Air Angels drones, which were previously listed in our merchandise catalog. In 2014, Alabama senators proposed legislation that would ban drones from “harassing” hunters. This legislation did not make it out of the House, but now is the time to ban all drones used for hunting purposes. I respectfully urge you to act now and use your position to spearhead an initiative to ban the use of drones in hunting activities in your state.

As you know, some hunters use drones to find and stalk their prey. This technology gives humans yet another unprecedented and completely “unsporting” advantage over the animals they seek to kill, and many hunters believe that it violates “fair chase.” The evidence is in that drones stress wildlife—“target” and “nontarget” animals are likely equally terrorized by seeing or hearing a drone.

Thank you for your consideration in spearheading an initiative to ban the use of drones for hunting and other activities that interfere with wildlife. We look forward to hearing that Alabama will be a leader on this issue.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

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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