PETA Uses Story of Boy Who Killed Dad to Condemn Hunting

AP picture of St. Johns house where slaying occurred

By Ray Stern

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals are known for their outrageous advertising campaigns, such as the one that compared slaughterhouse animals to Jews in Nazi concentration camps.

Now PETA is using the news of an 8-year-old Arizona boy who killed two people to push for a law against hunting by kids. The group sent a faxed letter today (reprinted below) to Governor Janet Napolitano that urges her to help pass a law prohibiting kids from hunting.

According to PETA, teaching kids to hunt makes them insensitive to living creatures. PETA implies little hunters will be blasting squirrels one day and their schoolmates the next.

Though PETA's goals to reduce animal cruelty in the world are admirable, their tactics often are not. This is one of those cases, and the alleged link here is not much different than the other bogus "reasons" for why kids sometimes kill, like too many video games, violent music lyrics or TV shows, not enough talk of God in public schools, etc. The hundreds of thousands of kids who started hunting at an early age would no doubt disagree with PETA's assessment that their experiences have trained them for a life of cold-blooded mass murder.

A Maine 6-year-old bags a deer with Dad.

Letter from PETA to Governor follows:

November 11, 2008

The Honorable Janet Napolitano Governor of Arizona 1-page via fax 602-542-1381

Dear Governor Napolitano:

I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters worldwide, including many in Arizona. Everyone is shocked by the killings of Vincent Romero and Timothy Romans, allegedly at the hands of Mr. Romero's 8-year-old son, but rather than just a time to mourn, we see this as the moment to save lives in the future by taking action now. Mr. Romero taught his son how to kill animals with a rifle much like the one his son reportedly used to kill him. Teaching children to see others as nothing more than living targets has deadly consequences that can extend into the human population. We urge you to support legislation to ban children under the age of 18 from hunting.

Hunting is a blood sport. In most cases, people don't hunt to put vitally needed food on the table. They hunt for recreation, and in this day and age, it is cruel and unnecessary. Hunting fosters insensitivity to the suffering of others, disturbs animal populations, and damages ecosystems. We should be teaching our children kindness and respect, not that it is fine to harm and kill others simply because they are different.

Please note that all the school shooters toyed with guns and hunted animals. Mental health professionals and top law enforcement officials consider animal abuse to be a red flag. The American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders, and the FBI uses reports of animal abuse in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. Experts agree that it is the severity of the behavior—not the species of the victim—that matters. FBI interviews with murderers showed that 36 percent had tortured and killed animals as children and 46 percent had done so as adolescents. Cruelty to animals is common in the violent histories of our nation's serial killers and school shooters.

We need to teach children the value of life rather than endorsing their destruction of it. Bradley Miller, director of the Humane Farming Association, once said that "[t]eaching a child not to step on a caterpillar is as valuable to the child as it is to the caterpillar." We need to prevent, not encourage, violence. Please take all this into consideration and push for legislation that bans children from hunting. Thank you for your consideration.

Kind regards,

Tracy Reiman Executive Vice President