PETA pleads with Kate: 'Kill the royal bird hunt'


Prince Harry, seen here behind a machine gun during his tour of Afghanistan in 2008, is being given 250 game birds to release at Sandringham Estate. The idea is that he and Prince William could go on a royal hunt together when their schedules fit, which isn't likely to happen until next year. (AP)

The animal rights people have picked a strange bedfellow in their fight against a royal tradition … and a birthday present for Prince Harry.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are appealing directly to Kate Middleton to make William take back his gift to Harry on his 27th birthday  Sept. 15 -- 250 game birds that are destined to become shooting targets for the royals at Sandringham Castle.

“May I ask you to use your influence on the Princes and ask them to reconsider this gift?,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk wrote in a letter to the Duchess of Cambridge obtained by Fox News. “You are in a unique position to be able to wield considerable influence over whether people everywhere view animals and their place in our world with kindness or blithely ignore their suffering.”

There has been no response yet, but that isn’t surprising. Fact is, Kate is a hunter herself. She was photographed hunting with the Royal Family in 2007 and knows how to handle a firearm. And even if she wasn’t, it’s unlikely even she would have the muscle to change a centuries-old tradition for royals.

“Please ask the Princes to open their hearts to the suffering of birds casually used as skeet and make the compassionate decision not to kill for fun,” PETA pleaded. “By cancelling the planned ‘day's sport’ in favour of  a more enlightened, fitting and humane pursuit, they will win hearts and commendations and spare hundreds of birds a terrifying end, making it clear that the monarchy is in tune with the social movement against cruelty to animals.”

Pheasant Of course, the cruelty only happens if a partridges, pheasants and ducks actually gets shot. Fact is, many of the birds manage to avoid the hunters (and their lousy aim) and live out very full lives on the reserve.

A spokesman from GameBirdHunts.com told Fox News that the hunters actually enhance the bird population.

“Without pheasant hunters, pheasant populations would not exist in many regions of the world," he said. "Pheasants are a renewable resource and these stewards of the land have ever right to take part in the harvest and the food chain."

This isn’t the first time PETA has appealed to royal sentiment for animals. During their summer Canadian tour, Kate and William were urged to boycott the Calgary Stampede because of alleged cruelty to horses.


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While I certainly do not advocate cruelty towards animals, I don't feel like pheasant hunting - or hunting in general - falls under that designation. Usually in hunting the animals die very quickly, with minimal suffering. As long as the animals aren't being wasted, I think hunting is ok. It is important, though, that they aren't wasted. If the Royals aren't going to eat the meat, then I hope they donate it to somewhere that will.

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