If you have spent any time on Facebook or Instagram recently, there is a good chance you have seen a profile picture with a “Shoot Selfies, Not Animals” frame. PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) recently launched the Facebook frames as part of an awareness campaign, coinciding with the start of hunting season for most states and territories. Thousands of hunters have responded to the campaign by using PETA’s frame on photos of themselves with their successful hunts.
The overwhelming response on both sides has caused the “Shoot Selfies, Not Animals” campaign to go viral. To date, more than 250,000 people have used the frame, and it’s currently the most popular frame on all of Facebook. Controversy and opinion surrounding the campaign has spread to other prominent social media channels, as well as a litany of message boards and opinion-sharing websites.
I mean, what's wrong with ruffling a few feathers? ????(Me punny? Always. ????) On a more serious note, I've watched countless hunters receive death threats by vegan extremists. I've been called every derogatory name for a female that you can imagine for being a hunter. I've had death threats to my dog, future children, self, and family members all because I hunt legally and ethically. On the contrary, I've had normal conversations with vegans. At the end of the day, we still didn't agree; however, we had a decent, healthy conversation about our beliefs. I believe everyone has a right to his or her own opinion. However, cyber-bullying and death threats are disgusting. #peta #shootselfiesnotanimals #shootselfiesandanimals
The hot-button nature of the campaign has compelled statements and commentary from both sides of the issue. Through recent press releases, PETA claims that hunters involved with the re-imagination of their profile picture frame campaign have served to introduce PETA and their anti-hunting message to a brand-new audience. “PETA owes a big thank-you to the would-be trolls who are spreading our message of compassion,” PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman says in a recent press release. [pullquote]“Supportive messages are pouring in from people who agree that only bullies or cowards get their kicks from gunning down a beautiful wild animal.”[/pullquote]
Hunters and conservationists alike have responded to the campaign in a major way. Hunters on Facebook and Instagram have worked to take over not just the temporary profile imagery but also the hashtag #shootselfiesnotanimals. Recent searches for the hashtag on Facebook and Twitter result in a win for hunters seeking to promote their stance on the campaign, with the clear majority of results favoring hunters and conservationists.
— Asher Allman (@AsherTheAllMan) August 24, 2017
While the “Shoot Selfies, Not Animals” campaign clearly evokes strong feelings and opinions on both sides, the divide in opinion is nothing new. PETA is the clear leader for the anti-hunting movement, and they are the largest and most well-funded voice in the opposition to hunting. Those that identify with PETA’s anti-hunting mission are vocal and passionate about their opinions. In addition, PETA has a significant amount of celebrity supporters that possess an enormous amount of influence on the population.
Hunters and conservation groups are passionate in their own right and are unified in their understanding that they are an important and necessary part of wildlife management and conservation. Hunting not only helps to regulate the population of wildlife and predators, but it helps to keep a large group of the population connected to wildlife and the outdoors. Hunting is deeply rooted in American tradition, each season serving to unite family members spanning multiple generations. For many families, responsible hunting accounts for the food on their table each season.
— Holden Asmus (@hcasmus2095) August 24, 2017
It’s no secret that the viral response to the “Shoot Selfies, Not Animals” stems from deep-rooted, passionate beliefs on both sides of the issue. At Today’s Hunter, we believe that it is our duty to actively participate in wildlife management and conservation. We also believe that hunting teaches important values and skills that last a lifetime. Where do you stand on the recent PETA campaign? Have you changed your profile picture? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section!