PETA Offers to Rush Anti-Violence Ads to Schools Following Teen Hunter’s Arrest

Experts Warn That Kids Who Hurt and Kill Animals May 'Graduate' to Fellow Humans

For Immediate Release:
May 9, 2014

Sophia Charchuk 202-483-7382

Waseca County, Minn. – In the wake of shocking reports that 17-year-old hunter John David LaDue was arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly planning a murderous rampage throughout his Minnesota community, PETA’s education division, TeachKind, is taking action. The group sent letters to local schools this morning offering to help them implement humane-education lessons and to rush copies of its “Abuse: Report It if You See It” posters to each school in Waseca County in the hope of preventing similar incidents.

As TeachKind points out in its letters, there is a proven link between animal abuse and violence directed toward humans. Many serial killers and mass murderers, including the Columbine school shooters, first attacked and killed animals, as was apparently LaDue’s habit. Unlike hunting—which desensitizes kids to others’ suffering—TeachKind’s humane-education lessons help kids learn to have empathy for all living beings, allowing educators to reach them before they ever lash out violently against anyone.

“Like most school shooters, John David LaDue apparently killed animals well before he allegedly went on to plan the deaths of his family members and classmates,” says PETA Director of Youth Outreach and Campaigns Marta Holmberg. “People of any age who hurt and kill animals are desensitized to suffering, and hunting specifically teaches kids that killing for a thrill is acceptable—and that’s a dangerous lesson for society.”

Experts in psychiatric medicine and law enforcement have long acknowledged the link between cruelty to animals and other forms of violence. The FBI uses reports of animal abuse while gauging the threat potential of suspected and known criminals, and the American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders.

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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