People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals announced a billboard campaign Friday calling for Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, to be deported from the U.S. for his interest in hunting.
PETA, known for flashy and inventive public relations stunts, was hoping to glom on to the attention being paid to the immigration debate with its attack. The organization said it would run the billboards in the Texas towns of El Paso and Laredo.
PETA signaled solidarity with illegal immigrants surging into the U.S., saying they are asylum-seekers and should be more welcome than the president’s own children.
“While people are fleeing to the U.S. to escape violence, over-privileged, callous, cheating louts like Donald Trump Jr. are flying overseas to gun down living, feeling beings just for fun,” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk said in announcing the campaign. “PETA’s border ad is a reminder that kindness is a virtue and that Central America doesn’t hold all the cards when it comes to mean behavior.”
The organization said its billboards show a photo of the younger Mr. Trump holding an elephant tail cut from an elephant “he shot in someone else’s country.”
The billboard urges the U.S. to “deport callous cheating opportunists.”
Mr. Trump, in an interview with Forbes back when the safari hunt photos first went public six years ago, said the elephants he hunted were part of an over-populated area, and his hunt was legal and managed. Cutting off the elephant tail was actually seen as a sign of respect by Africans, he told the publication.
“Anyone who thinks hunters are just ‘bloodthirsty morons’ hasn’t looked into hunting,” he told Forbes. “If you wait through long, cold hours in the November woods with a bow in your hands hoping a buck will show or if you spend days walking in the African bush trailing Cape buffalo while listening to lions roar, you’re sure to learn hunting isn’t about killing. Nature actually humbles you. Hunting forces a person to endure, to master themselves, even to truly get to know the wild environment. Actually, along the way, hunting and fishing makes you fall in love with the natural world. This is why hunters so often give back by contributing to conservation.”
PETA is vehemently anti-hunting, and encourages its followers to try to interfere with the practice.
Among PETA’s other splashy campaigns over the years was one, “Got Beer,” a parody of the “Got Milk” ads of the 1990s. The organization had threatened in 2000 to run the “Got Beer” promotion on college campuses, encouraging students to shun animal products in favor of alcohol.
That spurred an outcry from Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other anti-intoxication activists who called the campaign reckless, particularly since it seemed aimed at college students who were often under the legal drinking age.