PETA Urges Cheney to 'Put His Guns Down'

By Melanie Arter | July 7, 2008 | 8:05pm EDT

( - An animal rights group is using the accidental shooting of Vice President Dick Cheney's hunting companion, Texas lawyer Harry Whittington, to take aim at hunters, calling for them to reconsider taking part in the sport "for the benefit of both humans and animals."

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) urged its members to send "polite letters" to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and asking it to revoke Cheney's Texas hunting license.

"Hunting accidents destroy property and injure or kill horses, cows, dogs, cats, hikers and other humans, including children and even people gardening in their own yards," PETA said in a statement.

"In 2001, according to the International Hunter Education Association, there were dozens of deaths and hundreds of injuries attributed to hunting in the Unites States - and that only includes human victims," the group said on its website.

PETA said most hunting takes place on private land, "where laws that protect wildlife are often inapplicable or difficult to enforce."

"On private for-profit hunting reserves and game ranches, hunters such as Vice President Cheney can pay to kill native and exotic species in 'canned hunts,'" PETA added.

"These animals may be native to the area, raised elsewhere and brought in, or purchased from individuals who are trafficking unwanted or surplus animals from zoos and circuses. They are hunted and killed for the sole purpose of providing hunters with an exotic 'trophy,'" the animal rights group claimed.

In addition to contacting Joseph Fitzsimons, chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, PETA urged its supporters to write a letter to the vice president and "urge him to put his guns down."

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