The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has come under fire this week after the animal-rights group sent a letter to the teenage victim of a bear mauling, suggesting that she stop hunting.
Camille Bomboy, 18, was attacked by a mother bear while hunting deer on her family's farm in Porter Township, Pa., on Dec. 9, WeAreCentralPA.com reports.
The rare attack left avid hunter Bomboy with bites across her arms and shoulder, and almost resulted in the young woman losing an ear, according to the Patriot News.
But it was Bomboy's apparent pledge to continue hunting despite the attack that really caught the attention of PETA.
PETA's letter, dated four days after the bear mauling, wished Bomboy well and expressed hope for her "speedy recovery." The letter also asked that Bomboy spend the next few months reflecting on the incident, however.
"This seems to be a good opportunity to put yourself in the place of the individuals you and the rest of your hunting party were trying to kill," PETA Special Projects Manager Alicia Woempner wrote. "As terrifying as it must have been to be attacked by a bear, please consider the frightening and painful experiences that hunters set out to impose upon animals."
Woempner went on to say that "animals form intense bonds with their young, just as we do, and will go to great lengths to protect them ... Like us, animals value their lives and don't want to be killed. And many animals endure prolonged, painful deaths when they're injured by hunters but not killed outright, which I'm sure you know firsthand from being in the woods."
The letter concluded by asking Bomboy to "choose to enjoy nature in only nonviolent ways."
On Tuesday, news of PETA's letter was a topic of heated debate on the Fox News conservative cable program, "The Real Story."
Host Gretchen Carlson seemed to be particularly upset with the timing of the letter, as Senior Vice President of PETA Lisa Lange defended the group's actions.
“If there was ever a time when this girl might actually sympathize with the animals that she and her family go out and kill, we think that it’s now, when she’s actually suffered a terrorizing attack of her own,” Lange said.
“When a teenage girl is potentially almost killed ... you send a letter asking her to look at it from the perspective of the bear?" an incredulous Carlson countered.
“Absolutely," Lange replied, unmoved.
Nevertheless, the story quickly spread across conservative media on sites such as the National Review and guns.com.
In a statement sent to The Huffington Post and attributed to Special Projects Manager Woempner, the organization doubled down on its original comments, while protesting that the reaction from some news agencies has been overblown.
"If there was ever a time when this young woman -- who grew up hunting and was taught from an early age that killing for fun is an acceptable form of 'entertainment' -- might relate to the victims of hunting violence, it is now, after she has experienced a frightening incident of her own," Woempner said. "We're still hopeful that she'll reflect on our request, despite the hysterical reaction of the right-wing media, which has misrepresented the tone and content of our letter in order to decry 'liberals' and 'lefties.'"