Hunters and pet store owners are firing back against People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and its radical agenda. In South Carolina, hunters are supporting a statewide ballot initiative to change the state Constitution and give hunters a permanent right to hunt. Says hunting enthusiast James Kennamer, “It will keep local entities from passing legislation that would stop us from having a place to go hunt.”

Not surprisingly, PETA is the main opposition to the initiative. One PETA spokesman says: “PETA as an organization exists to remind people that there’s really no difference in abusing cats and dogs to abusing deer and fish.”

Too bad PETA doesn’t practice what it preaches. In 2009, PETA killed 2,301 dogs and cats according to its own “Animal Record” filings with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. That’s 97 percent of all the pets that were in PETA’s care. PETA’s leaders schedule these pets for death because they would rather spend their $33 million annual budget on media and public relations stunts instead of operating an adoption shelter. Since 1998, a total of 23,640 pets have met their makers at the end of a PETA syringe.

In protesting the South Carolina initiative, PETA claims it would open the “flood gates” to longer hunting seasons, larger bag counts, and existing age limits. Kennamer calls that ridiculous because hunters have a vested interest in small bag counts and age limits. Fortunately, PETA may be fighting an uphill battle in South Carolina. In the last 15 years, nine states have passed “right to hunt” measures.

In Hollywood, Florida, owners of a pet store organized a counter protest against animal rights demonstrators who accused the store of buying its animals from so-called “puppy mills” (the latest pejorative for commercial dog breeders). Although the animal rights activists were not affiliated with PETA, the counter demonstrators directed their anger at PETA, citing in particular the hypocrisy of PETA killing animals it claims to love. “They’ve killed 14,000 dogs,” pointedly notes Theresa Miller, office manager of the Puppy Palace store. “Michael Vick only killed eight.” Sounds like something we’ve been saying.