Coming up with a creative way to raise money for your Senate re-election campaign: great idea. Shooting live pigeons out of the sky for said fundraiser: not terribly popular. Oklahoma Sen. Jim Inhofe is taking more than a little flak from animal rights groups over a moneymaking event he held Sept. 5 in Lone Wolf, Okla.—one in which live pigeons were tossed into the air, then gunned down by shotgun-wielding participants that included the 79-year-old senator, the AP reports. "This was not food gathering. This was not pest control. This wasn't even competition. This was just a slaughter-fest," says Steve Hindi, head of Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, as per the Guardian.
An Inhofe fan "appalled" by the fundraiser sent SHARK an anonymous tip about the event, which was advertising an "old world pigeon shoot"; a SHARK member attended the event undercover, videotaping the bird blitz as a mariachi band played in the background. Inhofe's spokesman tells the AP that "Sen. Inhofe agrees with the [National Rifle Association] that this is a long-standing traditional shooting sport," and even the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation is shrugging its shoulders, saying pigeon shooting is legal in the state. "Pigeons are one of the animals that are not really protected by federal law since they're nonmigratory," a captain for the agency's law enforcement division says. "We're pretty liberal on our laws. We let people do quite a bit here." Counters Hindi, as per the AP, "Hunting is not supposed to be wanton slaughter. Every hunter, and every gun owner for that matter, should be infuriated by this."