PETA's New Hunter-Hunting Drones

Animal rights organization PETA is launching a fleet of UAVs to monitor hunters and fishers for drinking and illegal activity.

Animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) announced plans to launch hunter- and fisher-tracking drone aircraft in American airspace today. The non-armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) will supposedly fly over popular fishing spots and wooded areas to make sure hunters comply with local, state, and federal law. PETA, which has an aggressive public relations arm and a history of publicity stunts, recently launched a campaign against the Iditarod.

PETA's Kaitlynn Kelly said in an email that "PETA will soon have some impressive new weapons at its disposal to combat those who gun down deer and doves." The organization published a blog post (which, incidentally, name-dropped Morrissey) with details of the UAV project. Interestingly, PETA has not deployed the drones yet: The announcement was made to detail PETA's plans to deploy the drones—a strategy which earns the organization maximum publicity and minimum legal liability from any issues surrounding the real-life use of UAVs. Although non-profit organizations in the United States can fly drones (such as the popular AR.Parrot] and competitors such as the DJI Phantom), strict line-of-sight laws and FAA regulations turn actual use into much more of a legal gray area. In everyday life, use of UAVs in the United States largely depends on the knowledge, sympathies, and sentiments of local law enforcement.

According to Kelly, PETA plans to purchase several Aerobot Cinestar Octocopters—eight-rotored octocopters designed for use by the film industry and landscape architects. The Cinestar is designed to carry heavy cameras and has a 20 minute flight time when carrying smaller cameras; it is also intended for use by a two-person crew. Aerobot, which is based in Australia, markets to an international customer base not constrained by the FAA's rules.

Once deployed, the animal rights organization says it will use the UAVs to collect footage of illegal activity such as hunters drinking while in possession of a firearm, maiming animals for fun (leading to possible persecution on animal cruelty counts), and using locally-forbidden hunting or fishing enhancements such as spotlights and speed lures. In a prepared statement, PETA's Ingrid Newkirk said that "Slob hunters may need to rethink the idea that they can get away with murder, alone out there in the woods with no one watching."

PETA is not the first animal rights organization to use UAVs to monitor hunters, although they will be one of the first to do so within the United States if the project goes forward. In 2012, the World Wildlife Fund launched anti-poacher drones in Africa designed to provide law enforcement with video proof of poacher wrongdoing and real-time intelligence. But while the World Wildlife Fund project involves local authorities, the PETA project appears to be independent. In late 2012, a South Carolina-based advocacy group called Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) had their drone shot down while monitoring a pigeon hunt.

The animal rights group also says they will try using the UAVs to monitor wrongdoing at factory farms, which could provide a way to sidestep recently passed anti-whistleblower laws in the agriculture sector.

[Image: Flickr user Villehoo]

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  • Marcus Como

    So they claim it's to make sure hunters are abiding by laws, but then say the hunters are "getting away with murder" by "hunting" What exactly is PETA's solution to overpopulation by animals with no more existing predators? Is it part of their moral directive to have thousands of deer starve to death from overfeeding and depleting their food supply?
    HAHA, just kidding, that would require them to think ahead about repurcussions of the natural world instead of "murderous hunter kill sweet wittle deer bad must stop."

  • Kanakanui

    I consider it a form of trespassing these things fly over my property they are hit the ground faster then they came up. So PETA and their little drones can piss off cause its my property not theirs.

  • Allen

    Bottom line, if you fly a drone specifically in order to view areas of private property normally unviewable from ground level, it is (or should be, by common sense standards) a violation of privacy, no different than pointing a camera into someone's bedroom window over their back yard fence. To do this requires you be with law enforcement AND have gotten a legal warrant, neither of which can these groups lay claim to. They need to shove these drones up their asses and see if they can find their heads in there!! 

  • Fred

    When you shoot down that drone you might want to ask yourself, "is that a PETA drone or a government drone? Do I feel lucky?"  Cause I guarantee you, you shoot down a government drone and you can kiss your freedom goodbye.

  • Kenji Sugahara

    Sheesh- you know that someone NOT affiliated with PETA could be doing something for hunters.  Like this:  (www)vimeo(dot)com/63260643

  • Kenji Sugahara

    The number of idiotic comments is stunning.  Oh let's shoot it out of the air. It could be that someone not affiliated with PETA could be shooting video FOR hunters.  Like this:

  • Redneckhunter

    I can't wait to shoot one of these down and display the new trophy mounted on my wall. Maybe instead of spending billions to spy on someone who is not breaking the law, PETArds  you could spend your money helping the poor sods who work in jobs where cruelty towards animals is commonplace, to find better jobs with good pay so that the people could support their families in a better way. Maybe you could pull your heads out of your asses and help to curb the problems with invasive animal species in parts of the country where there is significant damage to the environment due to invasive animals. Maybe you could spend your money  on programs which restore rivers and ecosystems which have been damaged by human uses for the last two hundred plus years. Maybe you could set up ethical fair chase hunting preserves and monitor only those willing to be monitored while they hunt. But no, you have to be Orwellian spooks, so you will find your machines missing when they are monitoring my neck of the woods.

  • Silviarexi

    Hi Everybody,

    instead for PETA to build expensive toys to herrass hunters and invade their privacy, they should focus on saving animals as they so humbly advertise. But - no the money gets spend on useless toys.
    the below lind show what PETA really stand for. Please watch to know the truth - SHOCKING

  • Highcountry69


  • Highcountry69

    Too bad these are drones and not piloted by PETA members, then we could kill two pests with one shot! Yeah that's right, I wouldn't mind popping a few of the bastards when no one's looking. PETA members rank somewhere between a cockroach and that white stuff that collects in the corner of one's mouth when they're thirsty! Useless beings, the lot of 'em. Oh and one more thing, after you shoot down one of these drones you can use the parts to build one kick ass trailcam!

  • motermate

    I have plenty of deer and doves as well as other game to hunt and will welcome more  they say the wild drone is great to shoot  dosen't taste all that good  though but what the hell shoot it any way.

  • Melissa Delillo-Henderson

    Considering PETA kill thousands of animals each year at their facilities, maybe they should use these drones to fly the corridors of their own buildings.

  • T.J. LeDoux

    Big sister is watching now equal opportunity spying I feel sorry for the new America...

  • Mjhendricks

    If I see one I would shoot it and oput it on the wall!!!!!!!!!!!!!! O wait I will probably be to drunk to hit it. Why don't they go kill more animals that they do not have the money to take care of and can't find homes for!!!!!!!!!!!!! Peta SUCKS

  • Wblarny

    Not every idiot in the woods with a gun is a hunter. Some are shoots, just looking to destroy what they can, some are just killers, looking to kill and maim without regard. I resent you calling them hunters. A true hunter is a sportsman who plays by the rules and only harvests what will be used or eaten. Don't you dare call thugs with guns hunters!