Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Daily Princetonian Thinks Cruelty To Animals Is Funny

The staff of Princeton University's daily student-run newspaper apparently thinks cruelty to animals is fair game for comedy. This Monday, a blog called The Prox, on the paper's website, ran an article by Rebekah Shoemake titled "10 Reasons Squirrels Are The Worst." The post consists mostly of a series of .gif files with short allegedly humorous comments under them, illustrating reasons why the author does not like squirrels. Several of the .gifs were taken from viral videos, such as one in which a squirrel jumps on and wakes up a panda, and one where a squirrel is startled when it bursts a hanging water balloon. Ms. Shoemake also explains that during the recent winter vacation, squirrels got into her room and "trashed" it.

The end of the article takes a disturbingly dark turn. The last three .gif files show squirrels being hurled into the air by homemade squirrel catapult or slingshot devices. The slingshots in the second and third of the short videos look powerful enough that the squirrels were most likely injured or killed. In the second .gif the camera is at an angle where you can see the squirrel flying high into the air and then plummeting back to earth. In all three of the videos the squirrels were clearly lured onto the devices with food.

For obvious reasons, I am not showing the .gifs on this blog. I would not want to risk gratifying the sick people who made the videos. You can use the link above to view the Daily Princetonian article. I did a online search and discovered that there several videos on YouTube showing these and other "squirrel launchers" or "squirrel catapults." Of course, the videos don't show the aftermath, the squirrels dead or dying with broken bones and internal injuries.

I left a short comment on the Princetonian's article, and hope others will do the same. I have also expressed my disgust, and will continue to do so, to their Twitter feed @princetonian. I hope others will do the same.

At the very least, the Daily Princetonian should remove the article and let its readership know that cruelty to animals is not something to laugh about. The article's author, Rebekah Shoemake, makes it clear in her article that she finds the intentional maiming and killing of squirrels funny. In a mocking "disclaimer" at the end of the post, she makes clear that she is well aware of the consequences of the squirrel launching devices: "No squirrels were harmed in the making of this article... By me, that is. Squirrels were probably harmed in the making of the .gifs used. Please don't yell at me."

I think it's time to do some yelling. Cruelty to animals is not a laughing matter. Posting videos of animals being tortured, maimed, and killed as humor is not acceptable for any publication or website, much less for one run by one of the most pretigious univerities in the United States.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Animal cruelty should never be treated as a joke, it is important to encourage animal welfare so that it is treated as a serious issue.

  3. This article makes me think of live pigeon shoots which are still legal in PA. Pigeons are captured and caged, often without food and water, then on shoot day they are taken to a site where they are placed in boxes that are remotely opened. The pigeons are pushed out of the box only to be shot in the most senseless and cruel way. Many of the pigeons are only injured and children are sent out to collect them and throw them forcefully into a barrel. Why people think this is okay to do is beyond me. I have written to and spoken with our legislators and they are all afraid to touch this "time honored" pastime. I will totally understand if you do not want to keep,this post up. Guess I just needed to vent after reading your blog. Thanks.

  4. Just rescued an injured squirrel this morning on my walk. I have emailed Princetonian to take this article down. Very sad that the school is allowing this to be published.

  5. You got to be kidding me, it isn't funny at all. How would you feel if it happens to you? Jouralism is good but one should do it with responsibility

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