Washington Secrets

PETA: Paul Ryan a 'bad dad' for father-daughter deer hunt

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets

His 10-year-old daughter Liza had been looking forward to a deer hunt with her dad Rep. Paul Ryan ever since he gave her a new Remington rifle, but the success the father-daughter duo had in bagging bucks over Thanksgiving is being condemned by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Reacting to an earlier Secrets story about the hunt in Oklahoma, PETA declared that Ryan wasn't the best dad ever, at least in his daughter's eyes, but American's No. One "Bad Dad."

What's more, PETA suggests that by teaching his daughter to hunt deer, he might be setting her up for a life of rage, possibly against humans.

In a letter to Ryan, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk wrote Ryan, "You can't teach kids to be tough, if that was the purpose, by encouraging them to kill those who can't defend themselves." She added, "Being a good dad means encouraging children to engage in safe, peaceful, and fun ways for them to enjoy nature, including canoeing, bird watching, biking, and hiking--even clearing the woods of hunters' beer cans and other trash would be a blessing."

The group also blasted Ryan for taking his daughter, like him a deer hunter, "out into the woods and had her shoot and kill a deer for light entertainment."

In giving him the "Bad Dad Award," Newkirk was tough in her assessment of Ryan's need to "assert your old-fashioned idea of manhood," by killing defenseless animals and teaching his daughter to do the same.

"I suspect that while you love your daughter, you don't understand that the love of one's offspring is shared by other living beings, including deer, whose fawns become orphaned when they are killed," she wrote.

"How appalling to use your influence to desensitize your child to the suffering of others. In fact, the young people who have opened fire on their schoolmates--including 16-year-old Andrew Golden who, along with an accomplice, killed five people at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., and 17-year-old T.J. Lane, who killed three people at Chardon High School near Cleveland earlier this year, had first expressed their love of hunting animals. In light of this fact alone, it seems grossly irresponsible to encourage a child to kill for 'fun.'"

November 28, 2012

The Honorable Paul Ryan

United States House of Representatives

Dear Representative Ryan:

On behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' (PETA) more than 3 million members and supporters worldwide, including thousands in Wisconsin, I am writing to present you with PETA's Bad Dad Award (your certificate is on the way). You deserve the award because, instead of teaching your young daughter respect for wildlife and encouraging her to embrace nonviolence, you gave her a gun and encouraged her to kill animals for fun.

You seem to have a desperate need to assert your old-fashioned idea of manhood, to wield power over those who can't defend themselves, even to the point of stealing their very lives for nothing more than the perverse thrill of it. I imagine there must be a lot of people who are disappointed in your lack of empathy, not only for those who are unarmed in the face of the fancy weaponry that helps you do your dirty work but also more broadly. I suspect that while you love your daughter, you don't understand that the love of one's offspring is shared by other living beings, including deer, whose fawns become orphaned when they are killed. And given that your daughter was "practicing," one wonders if she is already among the ranks of hunters responsible for allowing deer to flee wounded, only to die out of sight, slowly and in agony.

How appalling to use your influence to desensitize your child to the suffering of others. In fact, the young people who have opened fire on their schoolmates--including 16-year-old Andrew Golden who, along with an accomplice, killed five people at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., and 17-year-old T.J. Lane, who killed three people at Chardon High School near Cleveland earlier this year, had first expressed their love of hunting animals. In light of this fact alone, it seems grossly irresponsible to encourage a child to kill for "fun."

You can't teach kids to be tough, if that was the purpose, by encouraging them to kill those who can't defend themselves. Being a good dad means encouraging children to engage in safe, peaceful, and fun ways for them to enjoy nature, including canoeing, bird watching, biking, and hiking--even clearing the woods of hunters' beer cans and other trash would be a blessing. While this letter is blunt, its point is to ask you to ponder the value of encouraging compassion in your daughter, as well as in your other children, by switching to humane family activities.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

President

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