Commentary: PETA, hunters and drones – a volatile mix

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People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced earlier this month they plan to use drones to watch hunters and farm operators for illegal activity this fall.

Drone PETA doesn’t yet have drones – small, remote-controlled, camera-carrying aircraft – nor have they identified specific locations where it intends to fly them. But the group says it will purchase drones to further its mission of saving animals.

The group’s press release stated: “PETA will soon have some impressive new weapons at its disposal to combat those who gun down deer and doves.” With intentions to purchase one or more drone aircraft, PETA says it intends to “monitor those who are out in the woods with death on their minds. PETA aims to collect video footage of any illegal activity, including drinking while in the possession of a firearm, a common complaint from those who live near wooded areas; maiming animals and failing to pursue them so that they die slowly and painfully; and using spotlights, feed lures, and other hunting tricks that are illegal in some areas but remain common practices among hunters.”

PETA also intends to fly the remote-controlled aircraft over “factory farms,” fishing spots and “other venues where animals routinely suffer and die.”

PETA president Ingrid Newkirk says, “The talk is usually about drones being used as killing machines, but PETA drones will be used to save lives.”

Unfortunately, you know what’s coming. There’s a confrontation already brewing with hunters that find themselves under PETA’s surveillance. It doesn’t take much imagination to predict that PETA’s drones will become targets for disgruntled hunters, creating a potentially volatile confrontation.

There’s plenty that can go wrong when you mix hunters with guns in a remote location being harassed by animal-rights zealots. Is that really the type of situation PETA wants to promote?

Sadly, the answer is probably “yes.” PETA would like nothing better than a full-blown confrontation with a group of hunters who have shot down their drone. PETA’s PR machine would shift into overdrive.

Some states, however, are already taking action to limit the use of drones. The Illinois House of Representatives sanctioned a proposal on April 15 that criminalizes the use of drones to disrupt hunting and fishing, making such interference a misdemeanor. That same day the Illinois Senate approved a bill on that requires law enforcement agencies to acquire a warrant before using aerial drones in investigations.

Unmanned drones have opened a whole new legal area that has not been fully defined by the courts. But common sense would suggest private groups such as PETA should not be afforded the means to create potentially dangerous confrontations with hunters, farmers or any U.S. citizens.

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Joe Potosky    
April, 24, 2013 at 06:10 AM

I suspect in regard to hunting, drones will be used to drive game away from hunters!

April, 26, 2013 at 10:01 PM

you are an idiot

April, 26, 2013 at 10:01 PM

you are an idiot

scott b    
Maryland  |  April, 24, 2013 at 08:46 AM

I gotta believe that a drone would be a lot easier to hit than a dove1 Happy "hunting"!

tony newbill    
powell butte ore  |  April, 24, 2013 at 08:54 AM

All these activities lead to limiting supply production in the end and that combined with a growing world population spells disaster !!! Here is another disaster in the making , The Corruption is being allowed to happen so These extremists can de-develop our means to produce to cause us all to starve to death !!!!!

Claverack N. Y.  |  April, 24, 2013 at 09:18 AM


IL  |  April, 24, 2013 at 09:57 AM

'Friends' have told me that we shouldn't eat meat. OK, what will happen to all the breeding stock we have if nobody eats meat? Their response was that the farmers could just keep feeding them. Right! Are they idiots? Those same 'friends' said chickens are fed hormones because all the eggs in the store cartons are the same size. This is no joke. They didn't realize that the eggs are sized... XL eggs in the cartons labeled XL etc.

Missouri  |  April, 24, 2013 at 09:59 AM

Can't wait until a PETA drone captures some hunter taking a pee and then airs it over U-tube and then wants the hunter arrested for indecent exposure. The legal beagles ought to love all the new business coming their way. I agree with Stu. Ol Betsy is going to get a lot of use. And hey, you won't even need to take your trophy to the taxidermist!

NV  |  April, 24, 2013 at 10:19 AM

I trust PETA will fly them in pairs? Trap shooting is fun but skeet is better -- bringing down those doubles, ahh!

jamie hix    
Usa  |  April, 24, 2013 at 10:57 AM

Cracks me up what r u so paranoid peta will see? Poaching? hunters a.d farmers and cattlemen have turned intofreaks of nature. I cant wait til u do shoot one, it will cost big money when your caught. See illinois doesnt whine we take action. Thats why i cant respect idiots like yourselves. I resolved animal abuse on my farm. I have a gun, i hire someone to work and i explain, hurt an animal, withhold feed or medication, do anything stupid to them at all. One disappears even to a coyote, this is how i even things up. No riders use spurs on horses, animals r halppy and criminals disappear. Why do you folks get so paranoid unless u have something to hide. Besides a drone may catch sasquatch

TX  |  April, 24, 2013 at 12:11 PM


iowa  |  April, 24, 2013 at 12:25 PM

I agree. If i want to do something legal in the privacy of my woodlands that is my business. Private property rights need to be respected. Invasion of privacy? Illegal search? This all has constituitional implications. In addition any hunter could most likely shoot one of these down legally and claim they had seen them on the news in war zones as armed weapons to take people's lives and were in fear of their life.

Ohio  |  April, 24, 2013 at 02:13 PM

Cool, I hunt doves, dear, ducks ,geese, coyotes... I have no problem adding drones to the list. Doubble o buck shot with full choke I think, or maybe the 308 if they hover. I cant wait. Wish I knew where they were going to be?

IL  |  April, 24, 2013 at 02:26 PM

kansas  |  April, 24, 2013 at 02:37 PM

There are many, many laws regarding trespass, interference/disruption of trade, invasion of privacy, air space and aircraft registrations & regulations, etc. Our trade associations and other representatives - in public safety and law enforcement - as well as organizations like the ACLU have many, many lawyers. We should all insist that they do their jobs and find proper, legal ways to stop or restrict this. Civil law is always available as well, as I would think this would be something the general public would view as a slippery-slope, better not go there issue if properly presented. Where are our legal, legislative and public relations people on this now?

nebraska  |  April, 24, 2013 at 03:27 PM

So when the bullet misses the drone and hits someone a mile and a half away, who is responsible: the owner of the attractive nuisance or the owner of the gun?

Texas  |  April, 24, 2013 at 06:00 PM

Ever heard of a book by Cass Sunstein, "Nudge"? That is precisely what we are looking at. We are being nudged right off the cliff of reasonable behavior by overzealous folks, drunk on the power a second term in office has allowed them. Lately I have seen farm and ranch organizations speaking out in favor of Earth Day, and sustainable environmentalism. I really doubt most of them know the roots of the movement, much less their ultimate goals. Those of us who have been around awhile, have watched this agenda progress past a point common sense a few decades ago, would have prohibited. How is it that there are so many seemingly intelligent people nowadays who have no clue what the green/animal-rights movements are really about? Read this: Some of us were around when they proudly professed their goals. The last couple of decades they have gone underground. How many "green" housewives do you think may know that the ideals they are adopting are based in their way of life declining exponentially? How many are ready to give up their cleaning supplies, their air-conditioned homes, their vehicles and even their children. I suggest you ask them to dig deeper into the ultimate agenda of the ideals they embrace. They would probably be shocked. Facts are on our side, however too many only see the superficial, touchy-feely do-gooder side of the movements, never delving deep enough to grasp that shattering capitalism is the goal. Our very way of life is threatened. These movements are based in totalitarianism, and are against the very individual freedom the Bill of Rights and the Constitution afford us, as American citizens.

Kansas  |  April, 24, 2013 at 09:42 PM

I can think of a lot of things I would get more worried about. First of all, I doubt PETA can afford military grade drones, I expect the drones they buy will be much easier to shoot down. Second, I think many counties will step in if states won't, and I believe states will. ACLU ought to go bonkers over the invasion of privacy here. It's already been said here, this is where our producer organizations better lawyer up and go after these idiots. At the same time, we all better be willing to kick in an extra hundred bucks or more to pay for the fight, otherwise producers will be the next most endangered species. I wonder if there even is a law against shooting down a privately owned drone?

Kansas  |  April, 24, 2013 at 09:52 PM

After thinking about this a few minutes, I realize there is a much simpler answer. Have the NRA, NCBA, Farm Bureau, etc. buy their own drones and send them over cities looking for people doing things that are illegal, or maybe just embarrassing, like cheating on their spouse at the beach or in a park. Our city cousins will take an entirely different view of this when it is their privacy that is being invaded. If it is OK to use a drone to find someone hunting illegally, it is OK to use one to find someone growing pot in their backyard, or any of about a hundred other things that are illegal and are done outside.

April, 25, 2013 at 12:00 AM

Some of these drones will probably be flying with higher-end cameras and have zoom lenses and gyro stabilization. I don' believe a shotgun is going to be effective as the drones would easily be out of range. As an alternative, I see a market developing for very small heat-seeking rockets/missiles. No explosives would be necessary--just whack the drone, breaking off a propeller or an arm, and it will fall from the sky. It's the equivalent of throwing (or using a slingshot to throw) a "smart rock". This type of device, if programmed properly, could also alleviate the "stray bullet" scenario.... Something to think about...

April, 25, 2013 at 12:18 AM

What about assigning a drone to each higher-level PETA member, then document their illegal activities. As an example, when they go 1 mph over the speed limit, then a speeding ticket could be automatically generated and sent to them....My guess is that they're not going to like having 'big brother' monitoring them all the time. This is similar to @Brian's comment, but since PETA is going to focus on agriculturists and hunters, why can't we focus on them instead of generally "spying" on a random backyard?

Pennsylvania  |  April, 25, 2013 at 06:18 AM

This same PETA who kills 95% of the animals brought into it's shelters because killing an animal is preferred to it possibly being abused if allowed to live? This same PETA that supposedly values animal lives over those of humans? PETA plays on the ignorant and uninformed who know nothing about the real world or how nature works. I'm surprised that you, a farm owner, are so easily duped.

USA  |  April, 25, 2013 at 07:42 AM

That's what buckshot is for..

April, 25, 2013 at 09:16 AM

jamie hix must be on drugs. PETA is not about stopping animal abuse, they kill almost all animals they claim to be saving and some were simply thrown into trash bins. Great bunch of nice people you seem to think are helping animals. Drones are not for any good purpose, they are to harass hunters. Hunters are not paranoid but if a PETA drone spooks my game or interferes with my hunt, the drone will be my new target

Mark Davis    
California  |  April, 25, 2013 at 10:24 AM

I say if they try to spy. Just shoot that drone in the sky!

Deep South  |  April, 25, 2013 at 11:11 AM

I challenge PETA to bring these to the south and disrupt legal hunting. I promise you one thing if one of these invades my farm and harasses me they will have to buy another one!

Wyoming  |  April, 25, 2013 at 07:01 PM

There is one good thing about PETA that I like. They manage to convince stupid hollywood bimbos, and good looking pop singers to pose naked for their advertisements---all when this is something they normally wouldn't do. Thanks, PETA. It shows the rest of us how misguided your hollywood advertising bimbos really are.

Texas  |  April, 26, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Spy drones can be very small, fly very high, be unseen and unheard. We used them in Iraq when I was there.

B spencer    
Wa  |  April, 29, 2013 at 11:48 PM

You're part of the problem, you probably don't believe in stock prods either

NM  |  June, 02, 2013 at 02:23 AM

You have got to be kidding, right? You flying a drone over my private property to spy on me is already a crime. In effect, you are a peeping Tom. If you want to report crimes, just self-report. If I then shoot your drone down, I'd say the Castle doctrine pretty clearly applies, and add to the fact that I'll sue the sh*t out of you for everything from trespassing to barratry, and we'll see who winds up paying big bucks. A bloated sense of self-righteousness does not give you leave to violate the civil rights of others.

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