I mostly ignore news stories involving PETA because PETA, quite frankly, is an organization of publicity whores who don’t constitute even a somewhat viable threat to hunting and fishing like other, more serious animal rights groups. PETA is in the business of attracting attention to PETA, and every outlandish publicity stunt they pull is a calculated move to that end, rather than any serious attempt at instigating change. Having said that, it was interesting to see PETA recently taking a page from British animal-rights groups in urging media distribution companies to restrict minors from viewing hunting, fishing and shooting magazines.

From this story on
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is encouraging national retailer Hudson News to put hunting magazines where children can’t see them — because, “Like other forms of casual or thrill violence, hunting spawns a dangerous desensitization to the suffering of others.”

In a recent blog post, PETA wrote: “If children aren’t mature enough to see nude human bodies, are they really mature enough to see people killing for ‘fun’? PETA has written to the CEO of Hudson News, Joseph DiDomizio, to request that his retail outlets handle hunting magazines the same way they would handle pornography or any other material that is inappropriate for kids: Store them out of reach and view of minors and allow only adults over the age of 18 to purchase them.

You can read about the British case here. But here’s an interesting rub: WH Smith, the British distribution company that first caved to animal rights activists to implement the ban, has now apparently reverse-caved to the British shooting and hunting community, and has done away with the short-lived, short-sighted ban.

From this story on the website of the British Association for Shooting and Conservation:

Retailer WHSmith appears to be removing age restrictions on the sale of shooting magazines in its stores after a lobbying campaign by people who shoot, magazine publishers and organisations including the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC). BASC members and others have been visiting WHSmith stores, emailing the company and lobbying through social media after it was discovered that till prompts were in use which imposed a minimum age of 14 for people wishing to purchase shooting magazines. An online petition, organised by a BASC Young Shot member has already attracted 12,000 signatures.

I doubt there’s any reason to suspect Hudson News will seriously entertain the ridiculous notion of restricting minors from magazines like Field & Stream. However, I bet if a few of us were to send polite, rational and non-raving e-mails to some of these folks I’m guessing the attention hounds at PETA will get about as far with this latest stunt as they do with all their others.