PETA Goes Way Out on Another Communications Limb over Lion Killing

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Image Credit: African Lion, Mathias Appel

July 29, 2015; WCCO

What do our readers think about PETA’s rhetorical excesses?

NPQ has written often about the public education strategies of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), who tend to use plenty of shock value to get the attention of those who might otherwise fail to note the plight of animals. So it should come as no surprise that the group has called for the Minnesota hunter—who first wounded Cecil, the lion who was much beloved locally, with a bow and arrow, and then tracked and killed him 40 hours later—“extradited, charged, and, preferably, hanged.”

Considering how many nuts have relatively free access to guns (including the dentist/hunter in question), it is a dangerous rhetorical tack to take. But again, it is hardly PETA’s first foray into shock-value statements. Remember, for instance, the recent Pamela Anderson/Sherriff Arpaio event, where Anderson was photographed dishing out meatless meals to inmates next to a beaming Arpaio (who has, of course, repeatedly been accused of human rights violations against immigrants) while PETA offered to pay the water bills of impoverished Detroit residents if they would agree to go vegetarian.

PETA is calling Walter Palmer and others like him “overblown, over-privileged” men who “lack empathy, understanding, and respect for living creatures.” “The photograph of this dentist, smiling over the corpse of another animal, who, like Cecil, wanted only to be left in peace, will disgust every caring soul in the world,” the group’s statement said.

The Humane Society of the United States commented in a less notable way, calling Palmer “a morally deadened human being.”

“Sadly, Cecil’s story is not unique—American hunters kill hundreds of African lions each year and are contributing to the steady decline of the species,” reads a Humane Society blog post, which ended with a pledge to ask U.S. officials to consider upgrading the legal status of lions and disallowing travel to Africa to bring back trophies.

What do our readers think about PETA’s rhetorical excesses? Do they—have they—served a purpose in their extremity?—Ruth McCambridge

  • Tricia Baker

    PETA’s brand includes the shocking and the extreme. These statements are no exception. Will their donors be surprised and appalled? Probably not, at this point, but only time will reveal their reactions.

  • MotherSkadi

    When hyperventilating hyperbole is the SOP for responding to events like Cecil’s death, it loses any moral impact it might otherwise have. It becomes easy to dismiss organizations, such as PETA, that routinely engage in it as fringe organizations. In this particular instance, by suggesting the dentist should be hanged they have, in my opinion, crossed the line and are now firmly in the land of the fringe and not an organization I would take seriously.

  • Marcia Hale

    PETA loves to cross the line, what should anyone expect but a statement that borders on threatening. While what this low life “hunter” did was reprehensible, threatening his life gives his supporters the fuel they need to elevate him to victim status. It is without question this guy is one of the most hated people in the world right now. I’m surprised I haven’t seen more “support” for him from the hunting enthusiasts, maybe even they think he deserves the moral outrage. PETA would do more good by aligning with other organizations to push for legislation that would make the import of exotic animal parts as trophies illegal. Or to join an effort to see Palmer extradited to stand trial for poaching. But as usual they go to a place where they are comfortable, the extreme. I’m passionate about animal welfare, but have never been able to embrace the PETA philosophy, and sadly I have rarely seen where it truly works to the advantage of the animals.

  • Judy Alnes

    People are animals, too and shouldn’t be subjected to arbitrary killing!

  • Lynn

    While Peta often goes over the line and in my opinion has in this instance, this highly educated wealthy nut who butchered a magnificent animal for fun should be locked away for years! But being an American he will get off with nothing and have lots of other US nuts supporting him.