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Youth hunters unfairly targeted by PETA in wake of tragic shooting

March 5, 2009 | 10:14 am

A hunter carries two shotguns across a pasture near Pratt, Kan.

News item: An 11-year-old boy shoots and kills his father's pregnant girlfriend in Pennsylvania with a youth-model shotgun, prompting the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to send a letter to the state's governor urging him to push for legislation that would ban hunting for people under 18.

"When parents teach their kids to hurt and kill animals -- to take lives -- they run the risk of destroying the child's sensitivity to the suffering of others," explained PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk.

Reaction: Nonsense! And shame on PETA for using an isolated tragic incident to foster its agenda and indict youth hunters around the world. Overall, children who hunt with their parents develop close family bonds and a strong conservation ethic, and they're taught to respect weapons and use them responsibly. They probably are least likely to shoot someone.

I agree with Rick Story, senior vice president of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, who countered, "There is not a single shred of evidence indicating hunting had anything to do with this attack."

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: A hunter carries two shotguns across a pasture near Pratt, Kan. Credit: Craig Hacker/For The Times