PETA, the country’s most high-profile animal rights advocacy organization, has announced plans to erect an anti-hunting billboard near Vernal, Utah.
Vernal, a city in Northeastern Utah, was carefully selected as the location for PETA’s latest ad campaign. On September 7th, a hunter named Bradley Greenwood was hunting elk in the nearby Matt Warner Reservior. When he attempted to turn one of his slain elk over, the animal’s antlers penetrated his neck, causing a severe injury. Greenwood was treated at a local hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
PETA’s ad includes the words “Payback Is Hell,” along with a picture of an elk, a not-so-subtle nod towards Greenwood’s recent incident. The billboard also includes the slogan “Leave Animals Alone.” The animal rights organization has used the “Payback Is Hell” slogan before, most recently in 2011, after a man on a spearfishing trip in the Gulf of Mexico survived a shark attack.
Vernal is located 175 miles east of Salt Lake City and has a population of around 9,000. Because of the city’s relatively small size, it only has a few billboards. PETA claims that it is working with sign companies to determine the best location for its new billboard.
Based on interviews in a KSL Utah video report, many Vernal residents do not think the billboard will be as effective as PETA intends. “I really don’t think they’re going to get quite what they’re looking for in Vernal,” hunter Jason Newman told KSL, “They might get it in Salt Lake, but they’re not going to get it out here.”
Other hunters ensured the news team that Greenwood’s incident was an unlikely fluke, and that hunters are simply trying to provide food for their families while participating in the sport. “We try to take [game] as humanely as possible,” hunter Tracy Webster told KSL, “We don’t want to torture and hurt them. We want a quick, clean kill.”
PETA has remained firm on its stance in regard to Greenwood’s incident. “Now that a recovering Greenwood knows what it feels like to gasp what you believe to be your last breaths, maybe he’ll stop killing animals and agree with PETA that compassion feels better than (bad) karma,” PETA recently wrote on its blog.