PETA takes shot at 'American Idol' singer Kristy Lee Cook's new hunting series, 'Goin' Country'
Only one episode of "American Idol" contestant Kristy Lee Cook's new hunting show, "Goin' Country with Kristy Lee Cook," aired on Versus before the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals started firing shots at the singer.
"Instead of angering thousands of would-be fans by killing helpless animals on camera in an attempt to get her '15 Minutes of Shame,' Kristy Lee Cook's fame crusade would be better served by following in the footsteps of fellow Idol alum-turned-country-stars Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler -- as well as Simon Cowell -- all of whom have used their fame and talent to speak up for animals,” a PETA spokesperson said in a statement released to FOX411. Underwood is a vegetarian, Pickler has spoken publicly about only wearing faux fur and former judge Cowell is an animal adoption advocate.
"Goin' Country," a reality show which started its eight-episode run Sunday, follows Cook while she participates in hunts across the nation, all while trying to also bag a recording deal. Featuring some of the performer's new music, each episode follows the seventh-season "Idol" finalist as she heads to Texas in search of trophy whitetail deer, visits Kansas and Wyoming for pheasant hunting, takes part in her first black bear hunt in Wisconsin and Illinois, and is challenged while turkey hunting in Tennessee and Missouri. Cook is joined by friends, family and celebrity hunters, including country music star Aaron Tippin, Grammy-nominated artist Jake Owen and former "Idol" contestant Blake Lewis.
Cook did not take the comments lying down, defending not only herself but all hunters, and issued the following response:
"Given that hunters have done more for American wildlife conservation than any other group in history, I make no apology for being one," she said. "Indeed, I join the ranks of millions of American hunters who celebrate our outdoor heritage and who conserve millions of acres of wild lands. These same people support more than 600,000 jobs across the country and provide a critical voice to encourage more investment in American conservation."
"My sister had never hunted. She once hit a butterfly with a tennis racket and cried so I was like, this is gonna be funny. We took her hunting for her first deer, with the meat going to an orphanage, and she ended up harvesting a buck. She had a great time and said she would do it again," Cook said. "Everybody that has experienced it for the first time has enjoyed it and had a great time. It’s more about being with friends and family and having a good time."
The series will also highlight Cook's work with the "Kristy Lee Horse Heaven Foundation," a charity which helps rescue horses that have been abused or neglected.
"The show is serious about our hunt, but it also has my rescue horses in it," continued Cook. "Spotlighting them is really important to me."
Cook also believes in eating organically, and argues that harvesting your own meat is about as organic as it gets.
"I’m a big time organic person, and the meat we get from shooting something is as organic as it comes. If I don’t take the meat home to my family then we give it to orphanages or homeless shelters," she said. "The meat is going somewhere and it is great because I get to feed all these people. Whether you like hunting or not, I know I get to help people eat."
"Goin' Country with Kristy Lee Cook" can be seen on Versus on Sunday mornings at 6 through Sept. 19, with replays throughout the week (check your local listings for times).
-- Kelly Burgess
Singer Kristy Lee Cook hosts her own hunting series, "Goin' Country with Kristy Lee Cook", on Versus. Credit: Versus