Phoenix(RushPRnews)12/11/08 — This morning, PETA sent an urgent letter to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano urging her to push for legislation that would ban hunting by anyone under the age of 18. PETA’s letter comes in the wake of allegations that an 8-year-old boy intentionally shot and killed his father, St. Johns resident Vincent Romero, and Romero’s friend Timothy Romans on November 5. The boy had previously hunted prairie dogs with his father.
In its letter, PETA points out that the case is further proof of the well-established link between cruelty to animals and violence directed against our fellow human beings.
“When parents encourage their kids to hurt animals, they’re destroying the child’s sensitivity to the suffering of others,” says PETA President Ingrid E. Newkirk. “Banning hunting by children who are in their most critical formative years would go a long away toward teaching them to show kindness and respect to animals, other children, and even members of their own families.”
PETA’s letter to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano follows.
November 11, 2008
The Honorable Janet Napolitano
Governor of Arizona
Dear Governor Napolitano:
I am writing on behalf of PETA and our more than 2 million members and supporters worldwide, including many in Arizona. Everyone is shocked by the killings of Vincent Romero and Timothy Romans, allegedly at the hands of Mr. Romero’s 8-year-old son, but rather than just a time to mourn, we see this as the moment to save lives in the future by taking action now. Mr. Romero taught his son how to kill animals with a rifle much like the one his son reportedly used to kill him. Teaching children to see others as nothing more than living targets has deadly consequences that can extend into the human population. We urge you to support legislation to ban children under the age of 18 from hunting.
Hunting is a blood sport. In most cases, people don’t hunt to put vitally needed food on the table. They hunt for recreation, and in this day and age, it is cruel and unnecessary. Hunting fosters insensitivity to the suffering of others, disturbs animal populations, and damages ecosystems. We should be teaching our children kindness and respect, not that it is fine to harm and kill others simply because they are different.
Please note that all the school shooters toyed with guns and hunted animals. Mental health professionals and top law enforcement officials consider animal abuse to be a red flag. The American Psychiatric Association identifies cruelty to animals as one of the diagnostic criteria for conduct disorders, and the FBI uses reports of animal abuse in analyzing the threat potential of suspected and known criminals. Experts agree that it is the severity of the behavior–not the species of the victim–that matters. FBI interviews with murderers showed that 36 percent had tortured and killed animals as children and 46 percent had done so as adolescents. Cruelty to animals is common in the violent histories of our nation’s serial killers and school shooters.
We need to teach children the value of life rather than endorsing their destruction of it. There is a saying that “if you teach a child to be kind to a caterpillar, you do as much for the child as you do for the caterpillar.” We need to prevent, not encourage violence. Please take all this into consideration and push for legislation banning children from hunting. Thank you for your consideration.
Executive Vice President
Nicole Matthews 757-622-7382