Animal rights organisation PETA sparked a lively debate on Twitter after its director Mimi Bekhechi attacked the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for taking part on a grouse shoot at Balmoral with their eldest son. She said in a statement: “Very few people these days view shooting for ‘sport’ as anything other than a violent perversion that hurts and kills beautiful birds who are minding their own business.”
After claiming bringing Prince George along at similar shooting parties could have an impact on the seven-year-old psyche, Ms Bekhechi continued: “To help him grow into a responsible, compassionate leader, his parents must teach him respect for all living beings.”
PETA added news of the hunting trip had been “extremely disappointing”.
A tweet by the organisation in response to another royal watcher criticising the Cambridges read: “It’s extremely disappointing.
“There is nothing educational or entertaining about killing animals.”
Several followers of the organisation as well as royal watchers criticised Kate and Prince William’s decision.
Twitter user Michele Jankelow said: “WHY WHY WHY do you teach your children such primitive cruelty?”
Social media user Carmen Driver added: “I thought parenting is all about teaching children to be compassionate human beings.
“I don’t think teaching a child to have fun killing animals is one of those lessons.
“Shameful, I thought by 2020 the royals would have progressed #AnimalCruelty”.
Other social media users mentioned Prince William’s involvement with animal charity Tusk in the midst of their attacks.
Miriam 088 wrote: “You’re absolutely right.
“These people need to evolve with time.
“I can’t believe they thought taking a seven-year-old hunting for defenceless animals was a good idea.
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“And this from a person who heads an animal conservation charity.”
Similarly, Twitter user Greg added: “William is involved in many animal conservation programmes.
“I guess his bloodsport prey is not included in his saving of these animals.”
Other royal watchers sided with Prince William and Kate, saying some animals need to be hunted to keep their numbers low.
Twitter user with the nickname ‘queen of the world’ wrote: “They are birds!!!
“They need to be killed to help their ecosystem. It helps their population. Geez”.
And Emma Carroll, defending Kate and William, wrote: “Really?? Do you go into local supermarkets and abuse the butchers and shopkeepers for having meat on sale?
“Do you go to farmers and say they’re very naughty?
“I’m pretty sure his father and mother have spoken and taught him about life.
“This is a tradition. Whether or not you agree.”
Kate, Prince William and their children have spent a few days at Balmoral Castle visiting the Queen and Prince Philip.
To prevent the elderly royal from being exposed to coronavirus, everyone attending the visit adhered to social-distancing guidelines, according to The Sun.
A royal source told the publication: “Like every family, they’ve been desperate to get back together and over the moon it was possible this weekend.
“They’ve all been up there for a few days and although there are very strict procedures with social distancing, they’ve been able to find ways of seeing each other outside.
“It’s obviously been a difficult year for the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh seeing the country dealing with the pandemic, so they were all keen to go there to show their support.”