PETA's anti-hunting Facebook frame "Shoot Selfies, Not Animals" spread on social media last week from an unlikely source.
Hunters began attaching the frame to photos of their kills in an effort to troll the animal rights organization.
Some wrote that PETA's anti-hunting campaign backfired while others just couldn't resist the opportunity to "completely troll PETA."
One person even tweeted asking how PETA's "social media person" feels about the filter's not-intended use.
Turns out, they're not feeling that bad.
In a blog post from PETA, the organization's executive vice president said "PETA owes a big thank-you to the would-be trolls who are spreading our message of compassion."
"In an attempt at humor, thousands of hunters began using PETA’s frame on photos of themselves posing with the corpses of animals they’d killed," PETA wrote. "But ironically, their actions served only to introduce PETA and our anti-hunting message to a whole new audience."
Their message spread, to the dismay of the Arizona Game and Fish Department.
The department took to social media Monday to tell hunters what the so-called "trolling" was doing.
"If you're using a PETA 'picture frame,' you're playing right into the hands of anti-hunting propagandists," the department wrote on Facebook.
AZGFD in the past has been adamant about its support for hunters -- which they've said are some of the biggest contributors to wildlife conservation. They echoed those statements in replies to commenters Monday.
The department said the tax paid by hunters and anglers on sporting goods, ammo and fishing gear is given back to the state yearly to "pay for conservation."
"These sportsmen and women knew exactly what they were doing when they set up this system because they wanted to fund wildlife conservation in a way that wasn't dependent on taxpayers," AZGFD wrote. "If you do not hunt or fish, you do not pay to support wildlife."
The department said early conservationists who started witnessing animal (game) numbers depleting, some even nearing extinction, wanted a "natural way" to raise conservation funds.
AZGFD followed the views of KTAR's Mike Russel who also said the trolling "played right into PETA’s hands."
"They might not have intended to do this," Russel wrote, "but in the battle between PETA propaganda and the truth, score one for PETA."
The department went on to write its well aware of groups that contribute to wildlife conservation even with members who don't hunt or fish, but said there are many that, instead, spend their money on "marketing and fundraising to pay attorneys."
"Little, if any of their money actually pays for boots on the ground conservation," the department wrote with a reminder for donors to always check to see where their money is being used.
AZGFD ended its barrage of replies by saying hunters and anglers "willingly pay" the tax on sporting goods and ammo in order to aid in wildlife conservation efforts, and it understands how far PETA will go to stop hunting.
PETA wrote the attempts to troll them backfired "big time."
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