PETA Takes Aim at Kate Middleton, Prince William—What'd They Do Wrong?

Animal rights campaigners put young royals in their crosshairs, appealing to the duchess to use her influence over the princes to put an end to their bird hunts

By Gina Serpe Sep 23, 2011 4:13 PMTags
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Kate MiddletonLiz O. Baylen - Pool/Getty Images

The royals are going to the birds. And PETA is going to the mattresses.

Not all traditions are quaint and worthy of preservation, and according to the animal-loving group, topping the list of those archaic customs not worth keeping around is the royal hunt.

Acting off reports that Prince William purchased 250 sacrificial pheasants, ducks and partridges for a shooting party at the queen's country estate to mark Prince Harry's recent 27th birthday, PETA has fired off a letter to who they see as the lone voice of reason in the royal family.

Kate Middleton.

"We understand that Prince William has given a gift of 'game birds' to Prince Harry for his birthday," a letter written by PETA president Ingrid Newkirk addressed to the duchess, and obtained by E! News, read.

"There is no honor in buying birds and reducing them, as if they were clay pigeons, to shooting targets. Those who aren't killed outright are often dispatched by having their necks wrung, which does not cause an instant or painless death."

Newkirk went on to ask Middleton to talk the princes out of their centuries-old tradition, a nice thought, unlikely as the notion is.

"May I ask you to use your influence on the princes and ask them to reconsider this gift? You are in a unique position to be able to wield considerable influence over whether people everywhere view animals and their place in our world with kindness or blithely ignore their suffering.

"Please ask the princes to open their hearts to the suffering of birds casually used as skeet and make the compassionate decision not to kill for fun. By canceling the planned 'day's sport' in favor of a more enlightened, fitting and humane pursuit, they will win hearts and commendations and spare hundreds of birds a terrifying end, making it clear that the monarchy is in tune with the social movement against cruelty to animals."

The duchess's camp has yet to respond. And—don't be misled by those etiquette lessons of hers—probably won't.