My column for the Daily News is online. My working title was “PETA is a PITA.” I guess my editor didn’t like that title
West Bend Daily News 12/04/2012, Page A06
‘Bad Dad’ for Ryan insanely misguided
PETA’s hypocrisy fully on display
Congressman Paul Ryan has had an interesting and exhausting year. After leading the charge for a sane federal budget in the House of Representatives for years, he was chosen to be the vice presidential running mate by Mitt Romney. From that moment it was endless politics and a brutal schedule. Then, on election day, it all ended when President Obama won and Ryan went back to being a Congressman from Wisconsin. I’m sure he was looking forward to a few quiet days before Congress reconvened, but I doubt that he anticipated being given a “Bad Dad Award.”
The award was bestowed upon Ryan by Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA, because Ryan engaged in that long-cherished tradition of taking his child hunting. Ryan and his 10-year-old daughter participated in the annual gun deer season and each harvested a buck. Newkirk chastised Ryan saying, “instead of teaching your young daughter respect for wildlife and encouraging her to embrace nonviolence, you gave her a gun and encouraged her to kill animals for fun.”
Before we get into the “substance” of Newkirk’s commentary, let us reflect a bit on the source. PETA is notorious for engaging in outlandish publicity stunts to highlight its cause, but it is also filled with true radicals like Newkirk. It was Newkirk who in 2003 wrote a letter to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to demand that he stop killing Jews with suicide bombs – strapped to donkeys. She had nothing to say about the people being slaughtered.
Furthermore, it should be noted that PETA is not above killing animals themselves. In fact, they regularly euthanize animals in their shelters when the population is too large, there isn’t enough room, or when animals are injured or diseased. They justify their hypocrisy on their own website by saying that killing animals “is not a solution to overpopulation but rather a tragic necessity.”
This brings us back to Newkirk’s commentary about Ryan taking his daughter hunting. There are two aspects to Newkirk’s positions that are ludicrous. The first is that deer hunting, in and of itself, is merely an exercise in “stealing their (the deer’s) very lives for nothing more than the perverse thrill of it.” The reality is that very few hunters do so for the “thrill of it.” They eat what they kill or donate the meat to organizations that feed hungry people. They enjoy being in nature, the camaraderie, the skills involved, the quiet, and generally enjoying the experience.
Furthermore, like PETA’s reason for killing animals, the deer harvest serves the very critical purpose of culling the herd to a sustainable level. Without hunters harvesting deer, the herd would grow exponentially leading to tens of thousands of them dying the cruel death of starvation. There would also be many more deer roaming Wisconsin’s roads being killed and maimed by vehicles, and killing and maiming the humans driving those vehicles. Unfortunately, we’ve seen how little PETA cares for the animal called “human.”
The second facet of Newkirk’s position that deserves derision is the notion that the act of Ryan taking his daughter hunting makes him a “bad dad.” In a nation of absent fathers, neglectful mothers, and truly bad parents, Ryan spent hours upon hours of quality time with his daughter enjoying a family activity. I’m sure he showed her some nature skills, taught her firearm safety, shared meals, and talked about those things that only a dad and his kid can talk about. On July 10th of this year, another dad murdered his three daughters in their beds in River Falls, and yet according to Newkirk, it is Paul Ryan who deserves to be labeled a “bad dad.” If Newkirk’s priorities weren’t so insanely misguided, they would be laughable.
Paul Ryan, like hundreds of thousands of hunters every year including this writer, took his kid hunting. In doing so, they built stronger family bonds while exercising good and necessary stewardship of our environment. Newkirk and the organization she leads could learn something from them.
(Owen B. Robinson, a West Bend resident, is a blogger who publishes at http://www.bootsandsabers com. .His column runs Tuesdays in the Daily News.)
I recall PETA mostly from a banner I saw hung over the Dan Ryan in Chicago when some meat producers organizaton had a trade show at McCormick.
The banner proclaimed, MEAT IS MURDER!
Which pretty much sums up PETA’s position. I’d ask them just how they would manage the deer herd without hunting but really, I don’t care.
Instead of trying to engage them in a rational discussion, why not just realize you’re not going to get it and just ignore them?
Why do you care what PETA thinks about anything?
Because evil people who work for evil organizations which perform evil deeds need to be exposed whenever and wherever possible. PETA is one such organization.
Seriously misguided, foolish, irrelevant… sure.
PETA goes way over board, but advocating for the ethical treatment of animals is certainly not evil.
PETA may not be “evil”, but they are hypocrites. The worst place to be a homeless dog or cat is near their Norfolk facility.
Well-written article Owen.
1. Does anyone take PETA seriously EVER? I don’t know a single person, even animal lovers, who doesn’t roll his/her eyes.
2. Hunting? Really? What a stupid thing to focus on. Would PETA rather that deer get hit by a car and left to die on the side of the road, extremely slowly? This dude comes off like a total moron.
My Progressive brothers and sisters lose me on this topic.
Lets get the ” treating others humans right” part down first.
Ryan is a pretty crummy guy, with that said I think incredibly little of PETA.
Sadly, there are many who take PETA seriously. Also, there are many, especially young and impressionable, who might take them seriously. For these two reasons, this hypocritical organizationust be mocked and ridiculed regularly until they go away—and not out of meanness, but in the service of honesty and integrity.