The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals rolled out a new Facebook marketing campaign recently: “Shoot Selfies, Not Animals.”
It didn’t go over well for PETA in Alaska.
Dozens of hunters took PETA up on the challenge, using the nonprofit’s frame to show off their most recent kills.
The hashtag was #ShootSelfiesNotAnimals.
PETA framed that spectacular backfire as a victory, however. “As a result, the hunters have introduced PETA and its anti-hunting message to a whole new audience: More than 250,000 people have now used the frame—and the number of people spreading the anti-hunting messageis growing, as PETA saw more than a 50 percent increase in “likes” of its Facebook page from Tuesday to Wednesday,” the organization announced.
“These trigger-happy trolls didn’t realize that they were helping to spread PETA’s message of respect for wildlife,” said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “Supportive messages are pouring in from people who agree that only bullies or cowards get their kicks from gunning down a beautiful wild animal.”
PETA also frowned upon the number of young children posing in the photos, saying that parents who introduce their children to hunting may be creating killers out of them.
“Nearly every serial killer and school shooter first killed animals. PETA encourages parents to teach their children empathy for others by encouraging them to shoot with a camera instead of a gun,” the organization wrote.
WORD OF CAUTION
While it may be fun for hunters to troll PETA with hunting pictures by using their free social media frame, hunters should know that by doing so, they are giving PETA at least some information about them, and it may expose them to harassment by the organization or its supporters.
But more importantly, PETA is not trying to turn hunters into vegans — the organization knows better than that. Instead, it is aiming at non-hunters, trying to convert them into anti-hunters.
An article in Outdoor Life suggests that hunters develop their own social media frames, such as “I Work Hard for my Dinner.” That message might help nonhunters understand them better.
“By flooding Facebook and Instagram with trophy shots, we’re putting thousands of dead animal photos in front of non-hunters who are not asking to view them. If we’re posting these photos just to troll PETA, we’re stripping away the context of the hunt and the whole point of the photo in the first place. Most of the ironic posts using the PETA frame have little or no information about the challenge or ethics of the hunt, the beauty of the landscape and habitat, or all the healthy wild meat those dead critters provided. They are mostly just dead animal photos with text that pokes fun at PETA,” writers Alex Robinson and Natalie Krebs argue.
In other words, it may be that nonhunters don’t really appreciate the humor that hunters are trolling PETA with.
HUNTING SEASON IS ON: EMPEROR GEESE IN SEASON
Hunting season has started in Alaska, with caribou and sheep hunts already under way. Moose season begins in earnest on Sept. 1, and for the first time in three decades, Alaska hunters will be able to hunt for emperor geese, a bird that has seen a rebound in population. Hunters are limited to one each.
Recreational hunts for emperor geese were closed in 1986, and subsistence hunts were cut off in 1987 after an alarming decline in the population. Now, the number of emperor geese is believed to be more than 100,000, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, but could be as much as 170,000.
The habitat for the emperor geese stretch fron the Aleutian Islands in the winter to the Yukon-Kuskokwim deltas during mating season.