Opinion: PETA scores accidental point after hunters hijack Facebook trend

Aug 25, 2017, 1:48 PM | Updated: May 2, 2018, 10:18 am

(Instagram Photo/@king_starck)...

(Instagram Photo/@king_starck)

(Instagram Photo/@king_starck)

This week, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (aka PETA) decided to offer its supporters a Facebook photo frame that read, “Shoot selfies, not animals.”

Thousands of outdoorsmen jumped at the chance to troll PETA — it’s just so much fun — and post the frame over a photo of them posing with their latest hunt take.

Unfortunately, this trolling played right into PETA’s hands. They might not have intended to do this, but in the battle between PETA propaganda and the truth, score one for PETA.

Think about it: Their goal was to turn off any potential outdoorsmen that have never tried the sport, to discourage them from the idea of even giving it a try.

There are few better ways to do that then to portray us as redneck, unhinged, animal-killing idiots.

Now, let me be very clear: I will never apologize for being a sportsman. I will never apologize for hunting, fishing or trapping. I will never apologize for teaching my family and friends to do the same.

Also let me state that I have hundreds of grip-and-grin pictures, you know, the ones where I posed with the animal I just killed. These are some of my favorite photographs.

I know they are your favorites as well. We know what went in to that picture. We know what went into that hunt. We know the joy that comes after in preparing the food for our table.

And, by the way, unless you are a strict vegan, your argument is completely invalid here.

Now, back to PETA.

The organization is simply a moneymaking machine that prays on the sympathies of donors in the name of animal rights only to enrich themselves, fuel their egos and allow them to have several parties around the nation while their unpaid minions throw blood at innocent people.

Bottom line, they’re a bunch of hypocritical slappies.

But they are experts at public outreach, public opinion and silencing the voices of the other side — better known as us.

Just as an example: A couple of weeks ago, I was speaking to the owners of a local restaurant and brewery. After hours of conversation, a dove flew overhead and I blurted out, “Dove season is right around the corner.”

The restaurant owner asked me if I was an outdoorsman. I answered quickly and proudly, “Of course I am.”

The brewery owner jumped in and said, “so am I” and the restaurant owner jumped in with “I am too.”

I asked him why it took so long for us to get to that part of the conversation to that they replied, “It’s kind of unspoken in our business.”


You mean the restaurant industry, where meat trucks pull up to the back of the restaurant on a daily basis and patrons sit on leather seats? You know, meat and leather that came from an animal that, somewhere down the line, someone had kill?

We can’t say openly and proudly that we just do that ourselves sometimes for our own tables?

That’s what I mean. Organizations such as PETA have done a brilliant job of painting us outdoorsmen as, once again, redneck, unhinged, animal-killing idiots.

Stunts like trolling the Facebook frame only help their cause.

But fear not my outdoor brethren. Earlier, I mentioned the battle between PETA propaganda and the truth. The truth is simply on our side.

The truth is that Game and Fish departments all over the nation are tasked with conserving healthy populations of animals in their respective states. Their most effective tool in their conservation arsenal is the American sportsman. Period.

They rely on us for population management and more importantly they rely on us for revenue through licenses, tags and donations. We fund the conservation effort!

The truth is that the American sportsman collectively is the largest conservation/environmental group in the entire world.

The truth is that hunting and fishing take effort, time and resources. In most every occasion, hunting and fishing is dirty and, honestly, bloody.

That is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just part of the process of being a sportsman and a meat-eater.

Now here is a very ugly truth: Here in the state of Arizona, the average age of a hunting and fishing license holder increases one year — every year — meaning sportsmen are aging out of this nation. Not enough younger men, women, boys and girls are getting involved in hunting and fishing.

Without the next generation of outdoorsmen, funds for conservation will dry up.

This is where we are getting beat in public outreach and public opinion.

As a group, us outdoorsmen need to be seen for who we really are: We are the front line of animal conservation in this country.

And groups such as PETA need to be seen for exactly who they are — hypocrites.

Do yourself a favor, do your homework before donating to PETA, especially if you have a pet. Having a pet in your home goes against core PETA doctrine. They view it as animal slavery.

Oh, and in your research you might find out how many animals they killed at the PETA headquarters.

It is crucial that we remain judicious in our trolling activities of hypocritical animal rights groups. We need to focus our time, energy, efforts and resources into building up the next generation of sportsmen in this country.

We do that by education, outreach and inclusion, not rubbing the noses of activists in the blood of the animals we hunt.

I am lucky enough to have a very big microphone every week here on KTAR News 92.3 FM to help in my efforts to educate and reach out to people that haven’t hunted before and want to give it a try.

I extend an open invitation to any PETA member that would like to come on to my show and debate me live on air. I am more than confident in my ability to come out on top of that discussion because I simply have the truth on my side.

Michael Russell

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Opinion: PETA scores accidental point after hunters hijack Facebook trend